Skye Fisherman convicted of sex offences

William Murdo MacKinnon was unanimously found guilty at the High Court in Edinburgh

A Skye fisherman who claimed he was playing a “practical joke” when he pulled down a sleeping woman’s trousers was jailed last week after he was convicted of indecently attacking the victim.

William Murdo MacKinnon (58) took down the woman’s lower clothing and sexually assaulted her while carrying out a sex act on himself. MacKinnon had carried out another assault on a sleeping woman more than a year earlier when he tried to rape another victim.

Both victims were attacked at his home in Dunvegan, on Skye.

MacKinnon had denied the offences during a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh but was unanimously found guilty of both charges.

The first offence occurred in January 2014 when he assaulted a woman who was asleep and incapable of giving or withholding consent. He touched her breast and rubbed himself against her and attempted to rape her.

The second victim was attacked on 1st February 2015 when she was asleep and incapable or giving or withholding consent when he took down her trousers and pants.

A judge told him: “By the verdict of the jury, the unanimous verdict, you have been convicted of two serious sexual offences, one of attempted rape and one of sexual assault by penetration.”

Lord Tyre said he had to get a background report on MacKinnon before sentencing him because he has never previously served a jail sentence.

He told MacKinnon, who ran a shellfish business, that he would consider all sentencing options but added: “I think you have to prepare yourself for the likelihood of a custodial sentence.”

MacKinnon, who had been on bail, was remanded in custody and placed on the sex offenders’ register.

The judge told jurors who served at the trial that it was “a serious and distressing case”.

MacKinnon, the director or a firm with three boats, told the court that he had never been in trouble with the police before.

He claimed that he had had consensual sex with the woman he was accused of attempting to rape.

The other woman had come back to his house for a party after being out with friends.

MacKinnon said he had got up the next morning and gone into a room with a computer and found her sleeping there with two male friends.

He said: “I thought it would be funny to remove her trousers. At the time I thought it was going to be funny, but very quickly realised it wasn’t.”

He said it was “a practical joke” but added: “As soon as I did it I realised it was stupid.” MacKinnon said her underwear came down with her trousers.

But one of the woman’s friends told police that when MacKinnon told him it was a joke he responded: “What do you mean it was an f—ing joke and then he started apologising.”

He said the woman ran straight out of the house in an upset state. The victim was later seen by another woman who said she was “just a mess, distraught, crying, retching, trying to tell me something”.