A man who raped a vulnerable schoolgirl after she asked him to buy cigarettes has been jailed for seven years.
Daniel Cunningham met the underage girl at a shop and got her to go with him, picking her up and carrying her when she refused to go any further.
The 23-year-old subjected the girl to a rape ordeal at a wooded area in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, on July 13 in 2019.
A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “Your criminal conduct was both opportunistic and predatory in its nature.”
Lord Arthurson pointed out that the victim was aged 14 at the time and was in a “vulnerable state” when Cunningham met her.
The judge said the crime was “appalling and callous” and its grave nature merited a substantial custodial sentence.
Cunningham, formerly of Douglas Street, Carluke, in South Lanarkshire, had earlier denied the rape but was found guilty after a trial.
Defence counsel Tony Graham QC said Cunningham was “an unextraordinary man with an unextraordinary background”. He said: “That with which he was convicted sits rather incongruously with his background.”
Mr Graham said Cunningham had a good employment history and was working as a self employed joiner before the pandemic.
Cunningham, who followed the sentencing proceedings via a video link to the court, was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
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