Man sexually assaulted 'almost comatose' diabetic in string of attacks

Ellis Birnie was convicted of a string of sexual assaults and engaging in abusive behaviour.

Ellis Birnie sexually assaulted ‘almost comatose’ diabetic in string of attacks on Shetland SNS Group

A man sexually assaulted a woman when she was “sparked out” in a diabetic episode during a series of attacks on two female victims.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Ellis Birnie from Shetland targeted the women between 2018 and 2020 including at his home address and during an outing.

The 27-year-old was convicted of a string of sex attacks and placed on the sex offenders register as he was remanded in custody pending sentencing.

The first victim said that at the time she was “very, very deeply asleep, almost comatose” at the time of the attack as her blood sugars were high and woke up to find Birnie’s hand inside her trousers.

In pre-recorded evidence played to the court, the 39-year-old said: “I was completely sparked out. I woke up at one point to find his hand inside my trousers.

“I had come to enough to realise stuff was going on, but I was not fully alert.”

The woman said the incident occurred on October 2018 but told the court that Birnie had previously assaulted her at his home in Sandveien, Lerwick, in Shetland.

She said in September that year Birnie had shown her round at the address, including going into a bedroom when the woman said she was pinned down and could not get up as Birnie carried out sex acts on her.

She was asked if he was saying anything during the attack and she replied: “Just really gross sexual stuff I didn’t want to hear.”

Birnie had denied a string of charges during his trial but on Wednesday he was convicted of three offences on majority verdicts by the jury.

He was originally charged with rape but that allegation was deleted by the jury in its guilty verdict.

He was found guilty of sexually assaulting his first victim on various occasions between September 12 and December 3 in 2018 at the address at Sandveien and other locations in Shetland.

Birnie was also found guilty of sexually assaulting a second woman whom he molested when she was asleep or intoxicated and incapable of giving consent on Shetland between February 1 and August 24, 2020.

Birnie was also convicted of engaging in abusive behaviour towards the second woman in 2020.

The trial judge, Lord Richardson, deferred sentence until next month for the preparation of a background report.

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