A Motherwell man sexually assaulted an Irish tourist after she asked him for help to find a taxi.
The 32-year-old victim had been on a night out in Motherwell with her boyfriend in October 2017, but after an argument they had separated.
She was attempting to contact her partner, but found her phone was dead and lost in a strange town she approached Graham Paterson (49) for help.
However, instead of helping her find a taxi Paterson tried to lure her to his flat before assaulting her. The woman managed to raise the alarm and police arrested Paterson after tracing him from CCTV footage.
Paterson pleaded not guilty to a charge of sexual assault with intent to rape, which forced his victim to give evidence at Hamilton Sheriff Court from behind a screen.
She told depute fiscal Michael Macintosh: “I was over here from Dublin. I didn’t recognise where I was, my phone was dead and I was distraught.
“I bumped into someone and asked where to get a taxi, I didn’t know the man, but he looked smart and was friendly.
“He asked if I was okay and I said I needed to go home and he said not to worry he would get me a taxi and pointed me to a black car which had no markings.
“He was stalling me from turning the corner and when I tried to leave he grabbed me round the waist tightly. I tried to push him away and his grip got tighter, he wasn’t for letting go, he was pressing against me.
“He totally changed when I tried to get away, he wasn’t friendly anymore and was clearly angry, and a struggle broke out. I slapped him and he slapped me back in the face, for whatever reason he didn’t want me to leave.
“I did get away, but I was left traumatised, it was like two different people from when he showed me to the taxi to the person he turned into when I said I wanted to leave”
Paterson described his behaviour as ‘shocking’, but claimed he was only trying to get a kiss because he thought the woman ‘fancied’ him.
He said: “I have held my hands up to most of the charge, I behaved in a shocking way that night, but not to the extent that is being said in here.
“I thought she might have fancied me because she commented on my appearance when I first met her but that was wrong.
“There was no plan, I was only trying to get her to the station. When I pushed her against the wall I was hoping for a kiss from her, there was no intention to rape.”
Paterson was convicted by a jury at the end of the trial. Sheriff Marie Smart placed him on the sex offenders’ register, but deferred sentence for reports and continued his bail.