Teenager ‘disgusted’ by his rape of girl, 12
Myles Harris,19, preyed on the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, at a location in Galashiels in the Scottish Borders on January 16 2022.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Harris texted the child in the early hours of the morning and asked to meet up with her.
Prosecutor Craig Murray told judge Lord Scott that she left her family’s home and the pair met up in the town. She was sexually assaulted by Harris soon after.
He was brought to justice after the child told her sister about what Harris did to her. Her mother contacted police who detained the assailant.
On Wednesday, defence advocate Lili Prais told judge Lord Scott how Harris had “no memory” of the attack due to taking drink and drugs. He had been consuming the substances “problematically” since he was 14-years-old.
She told Lord Scott that her client, who pleaded guilty to the offence last month, was full of remorse for his actions and was committed to turning his life around.
She asked the judge to take into account sentencing guidelines for young people which state that persons aged under 25 should receive lesser prison sentences than older people. The guidelines are based on international research on how young people lack maturity and are unable to fully appreciate their actions.
Passing sentence, Lord Scott told Harris, who observed proceedings via video link from a young offenders institution, that he would have to spend time in custody for his crimes.
He said: “I am told that you have no memory of the incident due to your consumption of drink or drugs.
“I must make it clear that the use of alcohol and drugs provide you with no excuse or mitigation at all.
“Given the circumstances and gravity of the offence, only a custodial sentence is appropriate.”
The story emerged after Harris, who went to live in Canterbury, Kent following the attack, pleaded guilty to a charge of breaching section 18 of the 2010 Sexual Offences Act - the rape of a young child.
Lord Scott remanded Harris, also of Galashiels, in custody last month and commissioned a report into his background.
At earlier proceedings, Mr Murray told the court about the circumstances of what happened. He said that Harris sent the child a text message just after 2am which read: “Hi, are you ok?”
Mr Murray said the child left her house after receiving the text and met up with Harris.
He said: “After spending sometime together, they agreed to have sex with each other.”
Mr Murray said the girl confided in her family later the same day.
He added: “She told her sister what had happened. Her mother contacted the police.
“She did not initially want to speak to the police but later changed her mind.”
The court heard that police later spoke to Harris who claimed he didn’t do anything wrong.
Mr Murray added: “He denied having sexual intercourse with the complainer.”
On Wednesday, the court heard that Harris had started consuming drink and drugs from the age of 12. A court appointed social worker found that his use of these substances became “problematic” from the age of 14 following the death of his grandmother.
Ms Prais told the court that her client also had mental health issues and that he was due to receive an assessment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and to see whether he was bipolar.
She said: “At the time of the incident, he was abusing abusing alcohol and drugs and was associating with a negative peer group.
“He has since taken radical steps to address his behaviour. He no longer uses drink and drugs and is no longer associating with negative peers.
“He had moved to England and had gained employment. He is well on the road to making his life better.”
Ms Prais said that Harris couldn’t remember the rape but accepted that he was responsible for the attack on the young girl.
She added: “He has no memory of the evening. He had consumed drink and other substances.”
Ms Prais asked Lord Scott to take the sentencing guidelines into account in considering the sentence he was going to give Harris.
She added: “He’s disgusted with himself. He’s devastated and he accepts full responsibility for his actions.”
Passing sentence, Lord Scott told Harris that he’d taken his age into account and had made reference to sentencing guidelines.
He said that after making reference to sentencing guidelines, the sentence was four and a half years detention.
Lord Scott said he had also taken into account legal authority with regards to how to sentence people who have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
He had earlier told Ms Prais that it was “very unusual” for people to plead guilty to charges of rape.
Lord Scott said that he noted that Harris had did this and he followed the authority to reduce his custodial sentence from four and a half years to three years.
He said Harris’s plea meant that his victim did not have to give evidence against him and that the high court could deal with other matters.
He also placed Harris on the Sex Offenders Register for life.