May 2015

Two serial sex monsters jailed for life

TWO serial rapists targeted by a special police task force have been jailed for life.

Jerry McMurray, 35, (pictured above) carried out brutal assaults on seven women during a 16-year campaign of terror.

Thomas Laird , 39, (pictured below) raped three women and threatened to rape a fourth over 18 years of abuse.

Both men were convicted after officers from the National Domestic Abuse Task Force – launched to target Scotland’s worst domestic violence thugs – led investigations into the years of terror they inflicted.

Detective Chief Inspector Samantha McCluskey, who leads the unit, said: “I hope the sentences imposed on Laird and McMurray bring some closure for the victims who suffered horrendous abuse at their hands.

“It is only through the courage of these women in speaking up that the behaviour of these men came to light and was ultimately stopped.

“I hope this demonstrates to victims that domestic abuse will not be tolerated and that it encourages anyone suffering such abuse to report it and to know there is help available.

“Equally, it should send a clear message to perpetrators of domestic abuse that there is no hiding place.”

The sentencing of Laird and McMurray take the total given Orders for Lifelong Restriction to eight.

McMurray, of Fife, must serve a minimum of eight and a half years before he can be considered for parole.

He was jailed at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday after being convicted of 14 charges, including raping and sexually assaulting several victims at locations across Fife from January 1997 to July 2013.

A court had previously heard he sprayed deodorant into the eyes of one woman, while he stabbed another with a fork, pinned her against a freezer and attempted to strangle her.

He abducted another victim, held her hostage, attacked her with a pool cue, placed a knife to her throat and tried to choke her.

He held one of his young victims hostage for four months, repeatedly raping her and even breaking her ribs with a dumbbell.

Laird was jailed at the High Court in Edinburgh on Monday after a court heard evidence he used violence against women to ensure he got his way.

He must serve a minimum of five years before he can get parole.

One of his victims, who met Laird when she was just 15, told how he held a knife to her throat and threatened to rape her after she told him she was leaving him.

She said he had groomed her young sister from the age of 11, sexually abusing her, and her sister fell pregnant by him.

She told the court she thought she was “living in a Jerry Springer show”.

Laird, who carried out his crimes in Airdrie, Glasgow and Dunbartonshire, met one of his rape victims through an internet site.

He attempted to strangle another victim and threatened her with a knife when she said she didn’t want to have sex with him.

On sentencing him, temporary judge O’Grady placed Laird on the sex offenders’ register and said: “It is clear that you are a clever, manipulative and exploitative individual who has spent years abusing vulnerable women.”