Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Mark Armstrong jailed for raping schoolgirl in 32-hour abduction in Fife

Mark Armstrong Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Mark Armstrong was told he should not expect to be released at the end of four years

A man who abducted and raped a 15-year-old girl during a 32-hour ordeal in Fife has been jailed and given a lifelong restriction order.

Mark Armstrong, 26, will have to serve four years before he can be considered for release.

However, the judge told him he should have no expectation he would receive parole at that point.

Armstrong earlier admitted kidnapping and raping the girl in Dunfermline between 12 and 14 March last year.

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lady Wise told him his attack on the girl had been "cruel, depraved and inhumane."

Armstrong will only be released when he is no longer considered to pose a risk to the public.

Flick knife

The judge praised the schoolgirl and said "her bravery and resilience was quite remarkable" but added the long-term consequences for her were unknown.

Defence counsel Michael Anderson told the court Armstrong had been smoking cannabis from the age of eight and drinking Buckfast from 10 years old.

The lawyer added: "He says that he deserves a long sentence. For what it is worth, and I recognise it may not be worth a lot, he articulates his regret at what has happened."

Image caption The girl was able to describe that she was at Lochore Meadows country park in Fife and was reunited with her mother

Armstrong abducted the girl as she walked home from school.

The court heard after abducting the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, Armstrong warned her that he had a flick knife and would use it if she tried to escape or scream for help.

He throttled her and raped her in the grounds of a derelict cottage.

Armstrong then took the girl back to his home in Dunfermline and continued to repeatedly rape her.

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson, prosecuting, said: "The victim describes feeling scared and increasingly angry and that she just wanted to go home."

At one stage he took her back to the scene of the original rape after saying she could go home, but instead of letting her go he took her back to his house to renew the sexual assaults.

Broken glasses

The girl's mother had reported her missing after searching for her daughter.

Police who were searching the derelict cottage at Kingseat Road found items of the girl's clothes and her broken glasses.

Only hours later did unemployed Armstrong free the girl and return her phone.

Timeline of events

• Thursday 12 March 2015

18:00 - A 15-year-old girl gets off the bus in Halbeath Road. Armstrong abducts her 10 minutes later.

Later that evening, the girl's mother reports her missing to Police Scotland.

• Friday 13 March

Friday afternoon - Police Scotland issues a missing persons appeal.

19:45 - Items belonging to the girl, including her glasses, are recovered at the back of a derelict building close to the place she was subsequently found to have been abducted from.

• Saturday 14 March

02:15 - The 15-year-old contacts her mother. Police, along with her mother, travel to Lochore Meadows and find the girl there.

• Sunday 15 March

01:00 - Armstrong walks into a police station and hands himself in to officers

The girl was able to describe that she was at Lochore Meadows country park in Fife and was reunited with her mother.

She had facial injuries that left her unrecognisable to officers from the photos of her they had been given in the missing person inquiry.

Armstrong had earlier also pleaded guilty to a string of assault and robbery offences committed against women in the Fife town in the days leading up to the attack on the teenager.

Det Ch Insp Michelle Johnson, of Police Scotland, said: "Mark Armstrong is a depraved individual who targeted his victims and ultimately put one through a terrifying ordeal.

"It is due the courage and the bravery of Armstrong's 15-year-old victim that he has been brought to justice.

"It is not an overstatement to say she cracked the case for officers, and as an organisation Police Scotland pays tribute to her maturity and resolve."

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