Grangemouth's Liam Hughes, 18, jailed for raping three schoolgirls
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Liam Hughes was aged only 15 and 16 when he raped his victims in a series of incidents in the Falkirk and Grangemouth areas over a period of 18 months.
Two of his victims were also 15 – the other still only 14.
A fourth girl, also aged 15, was sexually assaulted by Hughes.
Hughes, now 18, was convicted by a jury at the High Court in Stirling last month and appeared for sentencing at the High Court in Glasgow today.
During his trial the court heard Hughes "forced himself" on his youngest rape victim in Grangemouth’s Zetland Park in October 2020, then in May the next year he raped one of the 15 year olds in woods in the town.
The court heard the woodland rape, near Primrose Avenue, had begun as consensual sex, but the girl had begged Hughes to stop because there was a rock or stone beneath her.
She said that he ignored her, however, and carried on, telling her, "It's meant to hurt".
A month later the same girl woke up at a party in Hallglen, to find her underwear had been pulled down and Hughes' had sex with her with she was asleep.
Within days she had gone to police.
Hughes was quickly arrested and appeared on petition at Falkirk Sheriff Court but was released on bail. Nine months later, in March last year he went on to rape a 15-year old girl – whom he'd never met before – in woods near a primary school in Grangemouth.
The girl gave the court what prosecutor Ali Murray described as "a graphic account of what happened to her".
She said she was raped, there was "a lot of blood", and she was "in a lot of pain".
Hughes, an electrician, of Castleton Crescent, Grangemouth, who denied the offences, said the girls had "got together and made up stories" against him.
He said: "They can say it, but I've never done any of it."
After six days of evidence, a jury of eight men and seven women deliberated for almost two full days before find Hughes guilty by majority of raping the three girls, one of them twice, and sexually assaulting the fourth girl.
Charges that he raped two more girls, one aged 14, the other the day after her 16th birthday, were found not proven, and he was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a sixth girl, a 14-year-old.
Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Forbes Wilson, Forth Valley Public Protection Unit, said: “I would like to acknowledge how difficult it is for victims of serious sexual assault to stand up to their attacker and face them in court.
"Hughes is a sexual predator who is now behind bars, and he can no longer force himself on other young girls. If anyone is a victim of sexual assault or abuse, please report it to us in the knowledge we will do everything in our power to arrest the perpetrator.”