Man who went missing is guilty of rape

Gary Pugh went missing after rape allegation was made
Gary Pugh went missing after rape allegation was made

A rapist who sparked a missing person hunt after his victim confronted him is behind bars.

Gary Pugh disappeared after the meeting and police deployed helicopters during an extensive search for him.

Susanne Tanner, prosecuting, told the High Court in Edinburgh that Pugh (35) went AWOL for 12 days after the confrontation in 2015.

He was found to have left a note for his partner in which he had written: “I have done wrong. Now I must pay.”

Pugh, of Milton Street, Motherwell, was subsequently charged with abusing and raping a girl in Motherwell when he was a teenager.

The warehouse worker denied wrongdoing but was found guilty unanimously of four charges, including rape.

The judge, Lord Arthurson, described his conduct as “appalling and predatory” and said a substantial jail stretch is inevitable.

Pugh’s counsel, Derick Nelson, asked for his bail to be continued ahead of sentencing next month. but the judge remanded him in custody.

Pugh had denied committing two indecency offences towards the girl when she was aged between 11 and 13 and raping her when she was aged 12 and 13 between 1997 and 1999 at addresses in Motherwell.

The court heard the victim and an older woman had turned up at his home two years ago. The older woman asked him if he had raped the victim and he said he had.

He said he was “a stupid wee 15-year-old” who was out of his face on drink and drug.

The older woman said the victim was screaming at Pugh “Why me?”. The victim told the court that after some of the abuse she was sore and would cry.

During his evidence Pugh denied that he had sexually touched or raped the victim. He said that when he was first confronted with the allegations he was laughing, thinking it was a joke.

He said that afterwards he left the house and told the court: “I didn’t know in my head where I was going.”