June 2016

Man jailed for trying to rape schoolgirl after buying her alcohol

A Haddington man has been jailed for five years for attempting to rape a schoolgirl after buying alcohol for underage drinkers.

As well as attempting to rape the 14-year-old girl, Ruslanas Kukanauza also sexually assaulted three other underage girls in attacks in Haddington in 2013.

A judge told Kukanauza – who is originally from Lithuania – at the High Court in Edinburgh today (Tuesday) that, given the nature of the attempted rape offence, he was “bound to impose a sentence of imprisonment”.

Kukanauza, 25, of Dobsons Walk, had earlier denied a series of charges during a trial, but was found guilty of the attempted rape in July 2013 and further attacks on other girls.

Judge Michael O’Grady QC previously told him: “It is apparent to me from the circumstances of this case that you are inclined to prey on young women as a matter of course.”

He said: “It goes without saying that the crime of attempted rape is always a cowardly and serious offence.”

The judge added that it was particularly so when “perpetrated by a grown man on a child” who was vulnerable.

The victim of the rape bid, who is now aged 17, said that at that time of the offence she would sometimes meet up with friends and go out drinking.

She told advocate depute Jo McDonald that they would ask others to buy alcohol for them.

The girl said she was not sure of the age of Kukanauza. She said: “The first time I ever met him he told us he was 19, then it was 21, then 24.”

The teenager said she had told her mother she was going to the gym and she was given money, but her intention was to buy drink.

Kukanauza came down the street and one of her friends said he would buy them alcohol as he had done it before.

She said she contributed £20 and he came back with a bag containing lager, cider and gin.

“He sat with us for a bit and then we got invited up to his flat,” she said.

They went to the flat on Hardgate, in Haddington, where she was drinking gin.

They later left after Kukanauza said he was going to the pub for a drink, but were told they could return to the flat later and were given the chance to stay.

The teenager said: “I was really quite drunk.”

She and others were lying on a bed and Kukanauza joined them. She said she was woken up by her body “shaking”.

“I didn’t have any pants on. They were just pulled down,” she said. She said she never consented to what was occurring “because I was sleeping”.

She said as soon as she realised what was going on she stood up before leaving the flat.

Defence counsel Matt Jackson told the court that Kukanauza still maintained his innocence.

Mr Jackson said: “He does go so far as recognising that he was wrong in involving himself in any kind of supply of alcohol.”

The defence counsel said that Kukanauza had come to Britain as a 17-year-old to find employment and had shown a strong work ethic.

Kukanauza was placed on the sex offenders’ register as well as receiving a jail sentence.