Survivor of ‘abhorrent’ sex attack in Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens speaks out to help other women

Police Scotland officers scour Union Terrace Gardens following the attack in January 2016.

A woman today urged victims of sex attacks to report them to police after a man was found guilty of raping her in an “abhorrent” attack in Aberdeen.

The appeal came after Alasdair McDonald, 49, was convicted by a jury at the High Court in Glasgow of raping the woman, who was a stranger to him, in Aberdeen’s Union Terrace Gardens.

McDonald had admitted sexually assaulting the woman, who can’t be named for legal reasons, but denied raping her during the early hours of January 28, 2016.

The incident sparked a major police investigation, ending with his arrest in September 2017.

An extensive trawl of CCTV in the city centre revealed McDonald was in the area at the time the rape was committed, and DNA analysis confirmed he was the rapist.

Speaking after his conviction, the woman said: “Over the past two years I have been dealing with the consequences of my decision that night.

I could hide away and never let it be known that I am a survivor of rape, but I have decided to use what’s happened wisely and highlight the importance of coming forward and reporting to the police.

“I know the process of reporting such a crime is very daunting and at times I did not see the point, however, had I not gone straight to report the crime that night then this individual would not be prosecuted today.

“As a survivor, I know how difficult it is to accept this has happened to you, how hard it is to talk about it and especially how hard it is to report it and stand up in court and testify about it, but coming forward is important in getting justice for yourself and possibly stopping the perpetrator from carrying out such a horrible attack on someone else.

“I understand it was a careless decision to go into Union Terrace Gardens that night, especially at that time, however, people should be able to go to any public place without fear of being assaulted.

“I cannot thank the police enough for their hard work in catching this individual.

“I’d also like to thank my friends and family who have supported me immensely through this ordeal, hopefully now we can all put this behind us.”

During the court hearing Judge Lord Arthurson told McDonald: “You have been convicted of an abhorrent sexual offence against a young woman.”

He ordered McDonald, who is a prisoner in Barlinnie, Glasgow, to be placed on the sex offenders’ register and deferred sentence on him until next month.