Glasgow & West Scotland

Serial rapist convicted for third time after Paisley attempted rape

Sean Moynihan
Image caption Sean Moynihan was convicted of attempted rape - his third sex attack conviction

A man has been jailed for a sex attack on a teenage girl after an investigation lasting more than 10 years.

Sean Moynihan was found guilty of assault and the attempted rape of a 15-year-old on a Paisley cycle path in 2008.

The victim reported the crime at the time and a lengthy investigation was led by the National Rape Task Force.

Moynihan, 34, is already under a life-long restriction order.

The complex investigation was assisted by the National Crime Agency and advances in DNA technology.

The High Court in Livingston heard that Moynihan threatened to kill the teenager on 19 May 2008 at a cycle track near to Castle Gardens in Paisley.

He dragged her into bushes beside a cycle path and tore off her jeans.

The woman, who cannot be named, told the jury that she was too shy to tell police about the rape attempt at first because her mother was present when detectives interviewed her.

She finally revealed full details about the terrifying ordeal in 2016 after prosecutors re-opened the investigation.

The Crown obtained new evidence that DNA from the jeans the teenager was wearing was a one in a billion match for Moynihan's profile, the jury was told.

By that time, Moynihan had been convicted of raping a 16-year-old girl who mistook his black Skoda Octavia for a private hire taxi after a night out.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sean Moynihan was jailed for slashing serial killer Peter Tobin at HMP Edinburgh

He took the girl to a remote layby at Gleniffer Braes, Paisley, and raped her in the back seat of his car before driving her home.

Moynihan, who committed the offence less than four weeks before accosting the 15-year-old on the cycle path, was jailed for four years in 2009 for the taxi rape but, after being released, raped another young woman on the same cycle track in October 2014.

For that attack - which was almost identical to the 15-year-old's ordeal - he was made subject to a lifelong restriction order, which means he may never be freed from prison.

The court was told that since being sentenced for the second rape in December 2015, Moynihan has been jailed for 32 months for slashing serial killer Peter Tobin in HMP Edinburgh.

He was also given a six-month sentence for hitting a fellow inmate with a metal bar in Barlinnie jail, Glasgow.

Image copyright Crown Office
Image caption An E-fit picture from 2008 bore a striking resemblance to Sean Moynihan

Giving evidence in his latest trial, the teenager - now aged 26 ­- told how she believed Moynihan was going kill her after he followed her from her home onto the cycle path and grabbed her from behind.

The jury was shown an E-Fit picture of the suspect which she helped a police artist draw three days after her ordeal. 

Police witnesses said the image bore a "striking resemblance" to Moynihan.

The woman, now aged 26, wiped away tears as she gave evidence about the traumatic attack more than a decade ago.

The jury heard she gave a statement to police immediately after the event in which she told how the man said to her: "If you don't co-operate I'm going to stab you on the spot!"

She added: "I just wanted to get away. He told me that if I told anyone or reported it he knew where I lived and he was going to kill me."

The jury was told that since the offence, the victim's denim jeans had gone missing from the "chaotic" police productions department at Paisley police station, potentially breaking the chain of DNA evidence.

Despite that, the jury took less than two hours to return a unanimous verdict finding Moynihan guilty of the rape bid.

Image caption Police forensic officers examined the scene of the rape in Johnstone in 2014

Judge Lord Woolman sentenced Moynihan, who refused to appear in the dock, to nine years in prison and said his name would remain on the sex offenders' register indefinitely.

The judge said: "He is clearly a dangerous man. He presents a threat to the community at large and especially to females."

Thanking the jury, the judge acknowledged that some of the evidence they had listened to had been "traumatic and distressing".

Both the judge and the police praised the victim's courage throughout the investigation and the trial.

Det Sgt Julie Nedley said: "Sean Moynihan is a despicable individual - demonstrated by the fact that this is his third similar conviction for serious sexual offences committed against teenage girls unknown to him.

"He put each of his victims through the trauma of a trial and reliving their ordeals in a courtroom and has shown not one scrap of remorse.

"Renfrewshire is a safer place with him behind bars."

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