Rapist’s confession was recorded ‘from his death bed’

The woman confronted the sex attacker while he was 'gravely ill', but he recovered and has now been jailed.

A rape victim recorded her abuser confessing to attacking her 25 years earlier as he lay apparently dying in hospital.

John Harper pounced on the woman after holding a soldering iron at her neck and threatening to kill her.

The crime occurred in 1993 at a house in Hurlford, Ayrshire.

But the victim did not see the 56 year-old again until July 2018 after being told Harper was “gravely ill” at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.

Prosecutor Kath Harper told the High Court in Glasgow: “She felt she needed an explanation from him as to why he had raped her years ago.

“She attended at the hospital and recorded a conversation with Harper on her mobile phone. He apologised to her and admitted that he had raped her.

“She then contacted police and handed over her mobile phone.”

Harper was arrested in Glasgow’s Barlinnie jail in March 2019. By that time, he had been able to leave hospital and was serving 12-and-a-half years for separate sexual offences.

Harper – now in a wheelchair – was hauled back to court where he admitted to a rape charge. He was ordered to serve an extra four years for the attack.

The hearing was told how the victim – then in her late teens – ended up “crying all night” after her ordeal.

She initially went to police in 1994, but was unable to face a medical examination.

The woman went back three years later. A report was filed to prosecutors, but there were no further proceedings “due to a lack of sufficiency”.

She then confronted Harper in 2018 despite having no contact with him for more than 20 years.

Lorraine Glancy, defending, said: “It is fair to say in his discussion with (the woman) he indicated his regret at his conduct.”

Harper was told the sentence was less that what would usually be imposed, taking into account the jail term he is already serving.

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