Man Admits Abducting & Raping Schoolgirl

10 July 2015, 13:36 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50

Mark Armstrong Fife rape abduction

A man's been convicted of snatching a schoolgirl off the street and subjecting her to a horrific catalogue of rape and abuse during a 32-hour ordeal.

Mark Armstrong kidnapped his 15-year-old victim as she returned home from netball practice, warning her he had a flick knife and he would use it if she tried to flee or scream for help.

Armstrong, who's 26, strangled the girl and subjected her to a prolonged sex attack in the grounds of a derelict cottage after stripping her until she only had boots and socks on.

He asked the teenager if she had had intercourse before raping her as she lay in thorns. She kept telling him to stop during the rape "that hurt so bad" but he did not.

Armstrong led the girl back to his home in Dunfermline in Fife and continued to subject her to sexual abuse and rape.  The victim later said it happened "over and over again".

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson told the High Court in Edinburgh: "The accused only spoke to tell her what to do, to shut up or stop shivering."

"The victim describes feeling scared and increasingly angry and that she just wanted to go home," said the prosecutor.  

During the lengthy ordeal, Armstrong also wore surgical gloves to wash her private parts and scrubbed her with a kitchen sponge.  He also scrubbed her nails with a toothbrush covered in soap, and tried to get her to smoke cannabis.

At one stage he took her back to the scene of the original rape after saying she could go home, but instead of letting her go he took her back to his house to renew the sexual assaults.

The victim's mother had reported her missing after searching for her daughter. Police who were searching the derelict cottage at Kingseat Road found the girl's T-shirt, bra and broken glasses and informed her mother.

Miss Farquharson said: "At this stage or course, the complainer's whereabouts were still unknown."

Only hours later did unemployed Armstrong finally free his captive and return her phone. The girl later told police: "I just wanted to call my mum."

The victim was able to describe a wheel at the entrance to Lochore Meadows country park, in Fife, and was reunited with her mother.

Miss Farquharson said her mother described seeing "a little figure standing next to the wheel". She added: "It didn't look like her daughter she said because it was so small."

Police who arrived at the scene described seeing the mother hugging the girl who was "shaking, crying and occasionally howling".

The victim had facial injuries that left her unrecognisable to officers from the photos of her they had been given in the missing person inquiry.

The court heard that throughout the 32 hours the girl was in the hands of Armstrong she had no food and only a cup of tea. When doctors saw her after her release she appeared to be dehydrated.

The advocate depute said that the victim was interviewed at length by police following her release. She added: "It was in any view a harrowing experience for her to have to relive, and in such detail, these events.

"The police are keen to emphasise the victim's resilience and determination throughout to provide them with as much information as she could possibly remember," she said.

The prosecutor said tapes of the interviews had been made available and showed the impact of the crime on her "that words cannot adequately express".

After she was let out of hospital the teenager pointed out to police the home address of Armsrong and identified him from an image she was shown.

The court heard that the teenager had been at school on March 12th this year and after netball training caught a bus as she made her way home.

She was wearing casual clothes and carrying a rucksack containing her school books. She was walking in a Dunfermline street when Armstrong grabbed her from behind and dragged her backwards.

She tried to resist but was hauled into the grounds of the cottage and pushed down. Armstrong put a hand over her mouth and said he just wanted her bag. She told him it only contained her school books.

The girl was struggling with him as much as she could but he flipped her over and put his hands round her throat and dug in his fingers.

"In an effort to persuade him to let her go she feigned unconsciousness. When the accused failed to release his grip around her throat the victim kicked out again," said the advocate depute.

He repeatedly punched her in the face and a lens from her glasses came and cut her eyelid. She was stripped and pulled through bramble brushes, sustaining cuts to her naked body.

The girl was then raped before being told to dress again and that he was taking her back to his house. She described being taken on a variety of routes that she thought was designed to confuse her.

Once at Armstrong's home she was told to clean up her face which had blood running down it before she was instructed to get into bed where she was repeatedly sexually assaulted.

Unemployed Armstrong, of Macbeth Road, Dunfermline, admitted abducting, assaulting and raping the girl between March 12th and 14th this year.

He also pled guilty to a string of assault and robbery offences committed against women in the Fife town in the days leading up to the attack on the teenager.

The women in the three street robberies and the teenager he abducted were all between five feet and five feet two inches tall.

Armstrong's previous criminal record includes convictions for physical violence, Miss Farquharson said the latest offences "reflect a sinister escalation in this accused's offending over a short period of time - eight days - in March this year".

Miss Farquharson said the Crown would be seeking that an application be made for the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction on Armstrong.

A judge told Armstrong: "You have pled guilty to an appalling course of criminal conduct culminating in violent and sexual offences of the utmost depravity against a young girl then aged 15."

Lady Wise said that as a first stage she would call for a background report on Armstrong with a risk assessment. She placed him on the sex offenders' register and remanded him in custody.