Rapist jailed for targeting drunk 21-year-old in Galashiels

A teenage sex attacker was jailed today, December 20, for abducting and raping a woman in Galashiels.

The High Court in Edinburgh.
The High Court in Edinburgh.

Oran O’Neill, formerly of Gordon in Berwickshire but latterly of Ballymena in Northern Ireland, faces six years behind bars for that attack, carried out last summer.

The judge imprisoning O’Neill told him: “Galashiels is a safer place for young women to go out at night.”

O’Neill, now 20, was 19 when he carried out that sex attack on July 15 last year after taking his victim to gardens at Stirling Place, just off the A7 Edinburgh-Carlisle road at Ladhope Vale.

Stirling Place in Galashiels.

He had denied raping the woman but was convicted at a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.

O’Neill targeted the 21-year-old after coming across her when she was drunk and sitting in a doorway, the court heard.

Judge Gordon Liddle told him: “She was vulnerable, and you took advantage of that.”

O’Neill offered to escort her, and she, in her drunken state, mistakenly placed her trust in him, the court heard.

At one point, she ran off, but O’Neill caught up with her and picked her up and carried her to a garden area.

O’Neill began raping the woman while she was intoxicated and unconscious and continued after she regained consciousness.

The judge told O’Neill that what he had done was “a young woman’s nightmare”.

According to a victim impact statement, O’Neill’s victim is now withdrawn and suspicious when out in company.

The judge told O’Neill that the sentence he imposed reflected “the despicable crime you have committed”.

Besides being jailed, O’Neill was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.