A window cleaner who became the first person to be found guilty under new domestic abuse laws has been jailed for five years.
David Findlay sexually attacked a former partner and subjected her to serious physical and psychological harm, the crown office said, and also abused another woman, terrifying her with threats and attacking her.
On Friday, Findlay was jailed for five years at the High Court in Edinburgh by Lady Haldane and handed a three-year extended sentence. He was also put on the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.
Last month, the 32-year-old was found guilty after a trial at the High Court in Livingston which heard how his abuse began with insults and intimidation before descending into violence.
Both of Findlay’s victims said he had attempted to strangle them.
Findlay, from Edinburgh, was the first to be convicted of abusive behaviour which included significant sexual offending, the Crown Office said, under the recently introduced Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act.
The Act, which came into force in April 2019, recognises an abusive course of behaviour. The abuse could be physical, verbal, psychological, sexual or financial.
Rape Crisis Scotland chief executive Sandy Brindley said: “Most cases never get to court, those that do, it’s got the lowest conviction rate of any crime type so this can’t be seen as an alternative but I think it’s totally appropriate for the Crown to be prosecuting it in this way because in the context of coercive control and domestic abuse there is a real question mark about how effectively somebody is able to consent to sex.”
Fraser Gibson, procurator fiscal for High Court sexual offences, welcomed the sentence.
“The assaults on one woman, including serious sexual attacks, were captured within new legislation, which has given prosecutors another tool in seeking justice,” he said.
“The Domestic Abuse (Scotland) Act 2018 was enacted to better reflect the reality of domestic abuse – recognising a course of behaviour which is abusive of a partner, or ex-partner.”
Mr Gibson added: “Where there is sufficient evidence of repeated abusive behaviour, as defined in the legislation, and where there is a connection between the behaviours, this can now be recognised as part of an overall corroborated course of conduct.
“This may include instances of serious sexual offending.”
He said the sentence should “provide confidence” to victims and the Scottish public that the Crown Office “recognises the many forms of abusive conduct which may have been endured over a period of time and behind closed doors”.
As part of Findlay’s sentence, he was also made subject to a 15-year non-harassment order covering both of his victims.
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