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Rape victim thought she was going to die during attack

Katie Johnston waived her right to anonymity after her attacker Alasdair McDonald was convicted.

A rape victim has told how she thought she was going to die when she was attacked in Aberdeen city centre.

Katie Johnston waived her right to anonymity days after her attacker was convicted.

Alasdair McDonald, 49, is facing a lengthy jail sentence for the violent attack on Ms Johnston in Union Terrace Gardens around 3am on January 28, 2016.

McDonald overpowered his victim, forced her to the ground, repeatedly struck her on the head, restricted her breathing by seizing her nose and then dragged her into bushes and raping her.

Ms Johnston, who was 21 at the time, had gone to the Gardens after a night out with friends when she was grabbed by McDonald.

She told STV News: "It was just sheer panic.

"I did not know what was going on.

"During the attack I thought I was going to die.

"I was sure of it."

As soon as she got the chance Ms Johnston ran to the nearest police station to raise the alarm as she had lost her phone during her ordeal.

But she was convinced her attacker was following her.

'During the attack I thought I was going to die."I was sure of it.'
Katie Johnston

McDonald was not caught for 18 months and Ms Johnston, now 23, said news of his arrest came as a massive relief.

She said: "I felt that me and my friends and family could be safe while before I did not know if they could be safe as maybe he could attack someone else.

"I feel more relaxed now."

Ms Johnston admitted the court experience was "daunting" but encouraged victims of rape to come forward.

She also recalled the moment she set eyes on the man who attacked her.

Ms Johnston said: "I just wanted to face the individual who did this to me because I did not see him during the attack.

"I just wanted to put a face to the actions and show him that he did not defeat me."

On Monday the High Court in Glasgow heard McDonald admitted sexually assaulting Ms Johnston but denied that he had raped her.

But the jury did not believe the predator and convicted him of rape.

Judge Lord Arthurson told him: "You have been convicted of an abhorrent sexual offence against a young woman who was a complete stranger to you."

The court heard that during the rape McDonald used excessive force to rip the crotch area of his victim's pants.

It was found some yards away and contained McDonald's DNA.

After the attack McDonald was initially spoken to as a potential witness and told officers: "I saw a black man walking away."

He denied that he was anywhere near Union Terrace Gardens.

But an extensive trawl of CCTV in the city centre revealed that McDonald was in the area at the time the rape was committed and DNA analysis conformed he was the rapist.

Lord Arthurson ordered McDonald, who is a prisoner in Barlinnie, Glasgow to be placed on the sex offenders' register.

He deferred sentence on him until next month at the High Court in Edinburgh.

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