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Police welcome jail sentence for double rapist

POLICE in Shetland have welcomed the jailing of a former lifeboat crewman for rape on Monday, and praised the courage of his victim.

Daryl Smith, aged 23, was sentenced to four and a half years on Monday after subjecting a teenager to a rape ordeal.

The court heard that Smith turned up unexpectedly at the victim’s home in Shetland and was let in before raping her on two occasions.

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Lady Wise said it was clear that the victim had been badly affected both at the time of the incident and subsequently.

The judge said that from the way the victim gave evidence at Smith’s earlier trial “she continues to struggle with what took place”.

“I am of the view that a custodial sentence of a reasonable duration is required to mark the seriousness of your behaviour and to act as a deterrent,” she said.

The judge said she took into account that Smith had held “positions of responsibility and worth to the community” both through serving in the Territorial Army and with the lifeboat service.

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Smith attacked the woman and pulled her trousers down before having sex with her last year.

He repeatedly refused to leave her home despite being asked to and the victim fled to the bathroom and locked the door to seek refuge and escape from him.

Smith, formerly of 1 Brind, Cunningsburgh, had earlier denied raping the woman and claimed the sex was consensual, but was convicted of two charges of rape by a jury.

Defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC told the court: “He maintains that he was not offending.”

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McConnachie said although there were two separate charges they occurred on the same night and were “effectively within minutes of each other” and asked the court to treat it as one incident.

The defence counsel said of Smith: “He is someone who has had a very good work ethic from the time of leaving school.”

He said he had also taken the opportunity to serve his country through the Territorial Army. McConnachie said Smith had also been a member of the lifeboat crew in Lerwick for about two and a half years.

He said the incident had occurred 18 months ago and there appeared to have been no further offending in that period of time.

The defence counsel said: “He is, to all intents and purposes, a first offender.”

He added that Smith had never previously served a custodial sentence.

But Lady Wise pointed out that both the rapes had involved an element of force. Smith was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

On Monday afternoon Shetland’s acting area commander Eddie Graham said the case came to light following a report from the victim.

“Further enquiries revealed a pattern of behaviour and helped build a picture for the enquiry officers regarding his sickening predatory character,” he said.

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“The courage of a victim of this type of crime should be commended not only in coming forward to report these offences but also for the courage shown in giving evidence at the High Court.

“This action has resulted in the conviction of Daryl Smith, effectively removing him from society and making Shetland a safer place to live.

“We recognise that victims undergo traumatic experiences however we hope that the sentencing today can give some comfort and begin the process of closure for those involved in this case.

“It is hoped that this conviction should give other victims of such a sensitive crime the confidence to come forward safe in the knowledge that their case will be sensitively and thoroughly investigated. No victim should suffer in silence.

“As part of Police Scotland, the Shetland Command Area will actively pursue anyone engaged in the perpetration of sexual offences against vulnerable victims by utilising the support of specialist teams within the wider policing structure.

“This will ensure that we, as a service, focus on keeping people safe as well as safeguarding Shetland.”

It emerged on Monday that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution sacked Smith as soon as they learned of the charge.

Public manager for Scotland Richard Smith said: “When the RNLI was informed of the charge, the charity took immediate steps to stop Daryl Smith’s volunteer contract with the RNLI.

“He had been a probationary crew member for two years and two months and he was immediately stood down by the RNLI.”

Dave Finlay

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