A serial sex attacker has been jailed for seven years for raping three sleeping victims over a five-year period.
Matthew Ferguson carried out sex attacks on teenagers at houses in Galashiels and his home town of Dundee, beginning when he was aged only 16.
The 24-year-old had earlier denied a series of charges but was found guilty after a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh of an indecent assault and three rapes committed between March 2011 and April 2016.
In all four cases, his victims were said to have been asleep and incapable of giving or withholding consent.
Ferguson, of Wellgrove Street, Dundee, was put on the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period.
His youngest victim was only 13 when he first sexually assaulted her, and months later he raped her after she’d turned 14.
The woman, now 21, told the court that she first fell victim to Ferguson when she was staying overnight at a house in Galashiels as a guest at a party.
She later told police that Ferguson had entered the room where she was sleeping and molested her.
She said that on a second occasion when she was 14 he targeted her again. “I am a very heavy sleeper and groggy when I come to. It took me a minute or so to realise someone was lying on top of me,” she said.
She told officers that she felt discomfort and a burning sensation and found it slightly difficult to breathe because of the weight on her.
The victim said she was crying when she later told her father what Ferguson did to her. She said a woman then gave her a morning-after pill.
A second victim, also now 21, told the court that in spring 2016 she was staying with her then boyfriend at a bedsit in Dundee when Ferguson visited.
She said he and her boyfriend were talking and she fell asleep after midnight.
She said Ferguson went to sleep on the floor, but she told advocate depute Richard Goddard that the next thing she remembered after nodding off was “someone on top of me”.
The woman told the court: “I was lying on my back, and I never lie on my back.”
She said she did not want to open her eyes, saying: “I was too scared.” She woke up to hear her boyfriend shouting: “Get off her,” and Ferguson was still on top of her when she heard those words, she recalled.
She said she was scared of Ferguson “in case anything else happened”, adding: “I thought I had been raped.”
Defence solicitor advocate Iain Paterson told today’s hearing: “He intends to take every opportunity afforded to him in the prison system to reduce his risk of reoffending in the future.”
“Young individuals do change and do mature, and as he grows older he will mature and clearly make better decisions in his life.”
Judge Lady Ailsa Carmichael told Ferguson: “I take into account that you intend to use your time in prison to address your offending.”
She said she took particular account of his age when the crimes were committed and acknowledged that he was “still a child” at the time of the earliest offences.