A paedophile who raped two underage girls including a 13-year-old in an Aberdeen city centre lane has been jailed for eight years.
Shaun Penders, from Lerwick, carried out his first sex attack at the age of 16 – preying on very young girls for his own sexual gratification.
He targeted his first victim outside a public hall in Shetland in 2015, went on to rape a 13-year-old girl also in Shetland, and struck again three years later in the Granite City.
Penders, now 24, was sentenced on Wednesday with strict licence conditions to be imposed on the serial sex offender for four years following his release from prison.
The extra measures are designed to protect the public from any further harm at Penders’ hands.
‘I said ‘stop’ and ‘no’ but that wasn’t making any difference’
During a criminal trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, he denied a series of offences but a jury convicted him of committing a sexual assault, two rapes and a further charge of indecently communicating with a child.
Penders pled guilty to a further charge of breaching a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).
The teenager he first attacked in December 2015 told jurors: “There were a number of times I said ‘stop’ and ‘no’ but that wasn’t making any difference.”
She gave a statement to police in 2018 after she “found out he was abusing other girls”.
The girl that Penders raped in May 2019 said he had bought vodka which she was drinking before he attacked her.
Penders was convicted of raping her while she was intoxicated and drifting in and out of consciousness.
‘They were not in a position to look after themselves and you took advantage of that’
Penders was also convicted of subjecting a 13-year-old girl to an oral rape in Aberdeen in February 2022.
The court was told that, at the time, she was in an intoxicated state and drifting in and out of consciousness in a city lane.
Her attacker was under a SOPO at the time, prohibiting him from having contact with people aged under 16.
Passing sentence at Livingston High Court on Wednesday, trial judge Lord Lake told Penders that violating another person’s body, as he had done, was a serious crime that caused long-term harm to victims.
“The victim impact statements have made clear not only their suffering during your crimes but the long shadow your actions have cast over their lives.
“There is some hope, now that the end of the trial process has been reached, that they’ll be able to move on.”
He said the fact that all Penders’ victims had been young, vulnerable and in some cases intoxicated were “significant aggravations”.
And he added: “They were not in a position to look after themselves and you took advantage of that.”
Penders’ actions were ‘impulsive and unregulated rather than perhaps altogether wicked’
The judge said that the accused’s young age at the time of the offences engaged the recent sentencing guidelines that now apply to young people.
“This requires me to consider whether your culpability is less by reason of your age than it would be otherwise and requires me to consider the factor of rehabilitation when imposing sentence.
“I consider that there is some scope for the reduction of culpability in that your actions, it was recorded in the social work report, were not extensively pre-planned and were opportunistic in their nature.
“They can therefore be seen as impulsive and unregulated rather than perhaps altogether wicked, so there must be some hope for rehabilitation.”
He said the gravity of the crimes and a previous conviction for sexual assault meant that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.
The judge imposed a cumulo extended sentence of 12 years – comprising a punishment part of eight years, backdated to February 28 last year, followed by an extended period of four years on licence in the community.
He told Penders that his name would remain on the sex offenders register indefinitely.
Commenting after the conclusion of the court case, Detective Inspector Ryan Morris of Aberdeen CID described Penders as “an extremely dangerous individual”.
He added: “His actions were despicable and have had a profound effect on these young women. I commend their strength throughout the investigation.
“Investigating the abuse of children and young people remains a top priority for Police Scotland.
“I hope this outcome will give confidence to anyone who is experiencing, or who has experienced abuse to come forward, knowing that we will do everything we can to arrest the perpetrators and achieve justice.”
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