A pensioner accused of raping a vulnerable young woman has walked free from court after a jury determined that it “could not be proven” that he knew she lacked the mental faculties to consent.
Robert Day, 72, was charged with abducting the woman, then in her late teens, by taking her to Balmedie Beach against her will and raping her in his Skoda Octavia car.
Day admitted having sex with the woman, who he was transporting from a psychiatric appointment in Aberdeen to her children’s home in Aberdeenshire through his role with a community bus charity.
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But the pensioner, of Chapelhill Place in Ellon, insisted that the teenager “seduced” him during the journey on November 24, 2016.
Prosecutors contended that the woman was “unable to consent, due to mental disorder”, after tests performed on her found that she suffered from learning difficulties and would not have fully comprehended what was happening.
After hearing evidence for three days, the jury of eight women and seven men returned a majority verdict of not proven.
Despite the outcome, Lord Mulholland cautioned Day as he left the dock.
Lord Mulholland said: “No doubt, you will reflect on your behaviour.”
After leaving the High Court, Day refused to comment.
Earlier this week, jurors were shown footage of an interview police conducted with him four days after the alleged incident.
Day told officers that the woman was “being very seductive” and insisted he was unaware of her having any vulnerabilities.
But one charity shop worker, who worked with the woman at the time of the incident, said it was clear “something was not right with her”.
Consultant child psychotherapist Annie Baikie described the woman as “a very vulnerable girl” whose problems were “obvious”.
Advocate depute Stephen McCloy said: “She required a driver to keep her safe and Robert Day did not do that.”
But Defence advocate David Moggach highlighted evidence which indicated that the woman “could come across as more able than she actually was”.