Falkirk sex offender William Bermingham slashed in jail attack

Sean Moynihan who carried out the attack on William Bermingham
Sean Moynihan who carried out the attack on William Bermingham

A rapist attacked a notorious Falkirk sex offender at a jail because of a threat to assault a woman member of staff at the prison.

Sean Moynihan savagely lashed out at William Bermingham with a home made weapon at Glenochil prison, in Clackmannanshire.

Bermingham needed steristrips applied to close wounds to his neck and head after the attack and Moynihan required to go to hospital to have the weapon removed from his hand where it was embedded because of the force of the blows.

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Moynihan (34) was jailed for 40 months for the attack and was told that the sentence would begin at the end of a six year minimum prison term imposed on him in 2015 as part of an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) following his second conviction for rape.

The judge who jailed Moynihan for the latest attack, Lord Uist, told him: “Assaults of this nature in prison cannot be tolerated as it is essential that prison discipline is maintained.”

Lord Uist told Moynihan at the High Court in Edinburgh that it was clear it was “a deliberate and planned attack” in which he used considerable force.

Moynihan earlier pled guilty to assaulting Bermingham to the danger of his life by repeatedly striking him on the head and body with “a bladed instrument” on January 19 last year.

A reporting ban was in force until the end of Moynihan’s latest trial at the High Court in Livingston yesterday.

He was jailed for nine years after trying to rape a 15-year-old girl in Paisley in 2008 after dragging her into bushes at a cycle path and tearing off her jeans.

An investigation into the offence was reopened in 2016 after new evidence established a DNA link between Moynihan and the girl’s jeans.

Moynihan was jailed for four years for rape in 2009 after a 16-year-old girl mistook his car for a taxi after a night out. He took her to a layby at Gleniffer Braes, in Paisley, and attacked her.

Following his release he raped another young woman, aged 18, at the same cycle track as in the earlier rape bid and was given an indeterminate sentence under an OLR.

While in prison he was jailed for 32 months for attacking serial killer Peter Tobin at Edinburgh’s Saughton jail.

Advocate depute Iain McSporran QC said of Moynihan’s latest victim: “It would be fair to described the complainer, William Bermingham, as a notorious sex offender.”

Bermingham was in a communal sitting area at Glenochil when Moynihan approached him from behind and took a weapon from his waistband and launched an attack which was captured on CCTV.

Mr McSporran said: “He proceeded to strike him and attempt to strike him repeatedly about the head and upper body. The noise of the disturbance attracted the attention of prison officers who intervened.”

The prosecutor said that once they separated the pair Moynihan was co-operative in being returned to his cell.

Moynihan carried out the attack with a weapon made from a five inch long piece of metal shaped into a hook with a pointed end which was taped to a wooden handle.

Mr McSporran said: “It is believed that Moynihan’s motive for carrying out this attack included his disapproval of the complainer having issued threats to assault female members of prison staff.”

Bermingham, then 19, was ordered to serve a minimum of five years in 2006 after using a homemade weapon to take a 40-year-old woman officer hostage at Polmont Young Offenders Institution where he was serving a five-year term of detention for the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl at knifepoint.

His father, John Bermingham, was jailed for three years last September after being found guilty of breaking a Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed eight years ago which prohibits him from approaching or talking to any female who is not a relative.

In 2009 his brother Jonathan Bermingham, also known as Jonathan Ross, was jailed for life for the rape of a schoolboy in Callendar Woods, Falkirk. This was the second time he had committed such an offence.