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Rapist targeted 'vulnerable' women over seven years

Neil Ireland was found guilty of rapes and sexual assaults involving four women.

Sexual predator: Neil Ireland was found guilty at the High Court.
Sexual predator: Neil Ireland was found guilty at the High Court.

A sexual predator raped and sexually assaulted four women over a seven-year period.

Neil Ireland, 39, was found guilty of three charges of rape and three of sexual assault between 2008 and 2015 at the High Court in Dunfermline on Friday.

Ireland believed the women he targeted in Cupar, Leven and Methil would not testify against him but some gave evidence at his trial.

Detective inspector Jim Leeson, of Fife's Domestic Abuse Investigation Unit, said: "Neil Ireland is a sexual predator who targeted vulnerable women he calculated would not speak out against him.

"It is thanks to their courage in coming forward and testifying against him that we have secured this conviction.

"It was a difficult and emotive investigation that required the input of multiple partner agencies but this result is testament to how seriously we take all reports of sexual offences and to the effectiveness of that partnership working."

He continued: "I would like victims of sexual violence to take confidence in outcomes such as this case and be assured that no matter how long ago the crimes were committed, Police Scotland will listen to them and be relentless in our desire to bring offenders to justice.

"Although nothing can undo the evil actions of Neil Ireland, I hope this conviction will bring them some sense of closure."

Ireland is due to be sentenced on May 17 but was told by judge Lord Unst to expect a lengthy period of imprisonment.

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