HMA v David West

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 19 June 2019, Lady Wise sentenced David West to eight years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of two charges of rape.

On sentencing, Lady Wise made the following statement in court:

“David West, you have been convicted by the jury of two related charges, both involving the repeated vaginal and anal rape over a period of some 10 years of an extremely vulnerable woman.

“This involved the manipulation and exploitation of your victim, who due learning difficulties lacked the capacity to consent to a sexual relationship.

“It was clear from the evidence at your trial that your behaviour was predatory. You took advantage of numerous occasions when your victim, who manages to live semi-independently, was alone either in her home or at her father’s house.

“It was a particularly troubling feature of the case that you used your position as a window cleaner to gain access to this vulnerable woman.

“Notwithstanding your protestations that she was a willing participant, the evidence illustrated that you were well aware that your actions were wrong; you insisted that your arrangement was kept secret and when you were eventually confronted by your victim’s father your first response was that you would be going to prison if the police were involved.

“Any notion that you believed that this woman was capable of giving consent was dispelled by your statements at police interview, when you described her, albeit using your own outdated and inappropriate terminology, as having learning difficulties.

“Despite that, you still fail to accept full responsibility for the commission of these offences.

“Your reprehensible behaviour has caused your victim considerable anxiety and suffering, eloquently described in the information supplied on her behalf by her father.

“You are 70 years old and have no record of previous offending. I take into account all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation by Mr Jackson and acknowledge that the criminal justice social work report assesses your risk of sexual reoffending as relatively low.  

“Having regard to the serious nature of your offending, the vulnerability of your victim and to all other relevant considerations, I impose a cumulo sentence for these charges of eight years’ imprisonment. That will be backdated to 24 May 2019 when you were remanded immediately following conviction.

“You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sexual offenders for the remainder of your life and your name will be added to the list of those deemed unsuitable to work with children and other vulnerable groups.”