March 2012

Rapist from Burnley attacked two vulnerable girls 20 years apart

A triple Burnley rapist who attacked two “vulnerable” teenage girls 20 years apart has been locked up for 10 years.

Ex-soldier Alexander Fleming, now 51, targeted his first victim twice when he was on leave, about 30 years ago.

He then struck again when he was in his early forties, forcing himself on the second innocent victim, Burnley crown court heard.

He was arrested after he tried to kill himself last July and confessed to a staff nurse after being admitted to the mental health ward at the Royal Blackburn Hospital. She took legal advice, contacted the police and enquiries began.

Fleming, of no fixed address admitted three counts of rape. He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and was banned from working with children, both for life.

Sarah Statham, prosecuting, said the first victim, who thought Fleming had been watching her, struggled with her attacker, begging him to stop, but he refused.

Miss Statham said the second victim told her colleagues what had happened to her on a works outing. She had not reported the rape to police and had tried to block the incident out of her head.

The defendant was arrested last October and made no comment.

Bob Elias, for Fleming, said :” These are abhorrent offences which any court will look at with complete disgust and disdain. They should never have happened.”

Mr Elias said the defendant’s behaviour was something that would not cross the mind of any right- thinking man.

He continued: “The defendant realises he’s going to be in prison a very long time and he accepts that’s right and proper punishment for what he did. There is no excuse for what he did.”

The barrister went on: “He wishes to apologise for what he did. He wishes he hadn’t committed any of the offences. He can’t really explain why he did any of this.”

Sentencing, Judge Beverley Lunt told Fleming the only real mitigation was his guilty plea. She said the victims had had to live with ” this dreadful, dreadful, burden” but hopefully now the healing could begin.

Judge Lunt added: “You have attempted suicide. That might be a sign of guilt or remorse or simply despair because at last you have been caught.”