A Fife man who raped children and women over the course of two decades was jailed for 12 years on Friday.
Joseph Lowther – who changed his name to Lord Lowther – was found guilty of a campaign of sexual offending, including the rape of two schoolgirls and two adults.
He further subjected a woman he knew through mutual friends to a serious sex assault while she was asleep and incapable of consent.
A jury at the High Court in Edinburgh last month heard how Lowther’s crimes dated back to late 2000 when he dragged a 12-year-old girl into a van and raped her at knifepoint.
Some 18 years after this attack, the father-of-three repeatedly raped and assaulted a 10-year-old girl after luring her to his van and to secluded woodland areas.
The court was told that Lowther, now 42, attacked his five victims at various Fife locations. They also learned that one rape occurred at a caravan site in Moray.
Returning to court on Friday, September 23, he was given a 12 year sentence.
National prosecutor for High Court Sexual Offences, Fraser Gibson, of the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) said: “Lord Joseph Lowther was a danger to women and girls for many years.
“His victims were often too scared of him to report their horrifying experiences and felt they had to keep it secret.
“But justice has caught up with this man. The women he brutalised deserve our thanks and commendation for their courage in speaking out.
“They allowed the expert prosecutors at COPFS to ensure Lowther faced the consequences of his heinous behaviour.
“I would encourage all victims of similar offending – no matter how long ago it may have occurred – to come forward, report it and seek help.”
Responding to his sentencing, DC Kelly Clements of the Child Abuse Investigation Unit, Police Scotland, said: “The survivors of Lowther’s horrific sexual abuse showed great courage in coming forward to police.
“Ultimately, it was their vital information that has led to his conviction. He will now face justice for the offences he has committed.
“All reports of sexual assault, regardless of the passage of time, will be thoroughly investigated by Police Scotland and victims will be supported throughout.
“Should you wish to report a sexual crime to Police Scotland, then please do so via 101, or make an anonymous report to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”