Dogs saved woman from sex attacker in Fife
A sex attacker targeted a woman as she walked her dogs but was chased off when the pets turned on him.
Alexander McIlravie knocked the woman to the ground and demanded sex as she tried to fight him off while holding her two dogs on their leads at Burntisland Links
When the dogs barked McIlravie told the woman to release them.
When she let go the leads, the pets remained beside their owner, barking at McIlravie.
He then threatened to cut the animals with a blade if she did not silence them.
McIlravie (26), formerly of Rossend Terrace, Burntisland, repeatedly punched the woman on the head as she struggled with him but the dogs harried him until he fled. He was later found with injuries consistent with dog bites.
The woman later said she believed her dogs had saved her from being raped.
Her attacker had denied sexually assaulting her on 11th November, 2015, with intent to rape her, but was earlier convicted by a jury at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court.
The woman had gone out on a dark stormy night to exercise her dogs and became aware of a male running at her who she thought would pass by her.
McIlravie jumped on her back, forcing her to the ground where he pinned her face down.
After he fled, she phoned her mother who contacted police. The woman said that since the attack she could not go out on her own at night.
McIlravie could now face a lifelong sentence after a judge expressed concern that the Crown had chosen to prosecute in the sheriff rather than the High Court.
When the case was referred to the High Court in Edinburgh before Lord Uist he asked, “Why was this case prosecuted in the sheriff court?”
He commented, “Even without the accused’s background, an assault of this nature on an innocent woman out walking her dogs would, I would have thought, have merited High Court proceedings.”
The judge said it was “a matter of concern” that such a charge was prosecuted in the sheriff court.
He added, “When the case next calls I will require an explanation as to why these proceedings were brought in the sheriff court.”
The judge ordered a report of the risk McIlravie poses to the public. McIlravie will remain in jail until he is sentenced.