A FORMER army reservist with "a voracious sexual appetite" was jailed for 11 and a half years on Wednesday after raping young women at a university halls of residence and student flats.

Lewis Grant subjected three victims to rape ordeals and throttled two of them to the stage where one woman passed out during a catalogue of sex crimes.

One woman was burnt with a blow torch, "waterboarded" with Prosecco and choked until she thought she was going to die.

A judge said that in one assault Grant perpetrated with a riding crop bought from a sex shop, a woman was hit so hard that it broke.

Grant, 28, had denied a series of offences during an earlier trial but was found guilty of six offences, including three rapes and two assaults to danger of life.

He began his offending as a schoolboy in 2011 when he had unlawful sex with an underage 15-year-old girl at bushes in a park in Dumfries.

He then went on to commit rapes and assaults against adult women between 2014 and 2019, including at halls at Queen Margaret University in Musselburgh, and at addresses in Bridge of Allan and Stirling, where he was a student at the university and in the Officer Training Corps.

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His first rape victim, who was aged 19, told his earlier trial that he was sexually demanding and had a voracious sexual appetite and forced himself on her.

A 21-year-old student he subjected to rapes in Stirling was also grabbed by the face and lifted off the floor after Grant put his hands round her neck, leaving her choking.

Another 20-year-old woman was strangled until she passed out. She also had a cloth put over her face while sparkling wine was poured over her mouth and face as she was raped.

The woman said she was "suffocating" and added: "He continued to pour the Prosecco until the bottle was finished."

She said he had also lit a blowtorch and told her: "This might be fun to use when you're not behaving yourself."

Grant extinguished the flame but her skin was burnt on the hot metal of the blowtorch.

No alternative to prison

The woman said she was also subjected to a brutal beating with the riding crop and added: "He hit me so hard that the riding crop snapped in half. Then he hit me with the handle instead."

Grant, of Henderson Street, Bridge of Allan, had denied the offences, claiming that the sex and BDSM (bondage, domination, sadism and masochism) activities were consensual.

A judge told Grant that by the time he committed the later offences, he was an adult and fully responsible for his actions.

Lord Summers said that his final victim was "a vulnerable young woman".

The judge ordered that he should be kept under supervision for a further three-year period following his jail sentence.

Defence counsel Herbert Kerrigan KC said that Grant accepted that there was "absolutely no alternative" to a prison sentence following his conviction.

'Despicable actions'

Following sentencing, Detective Inspector Forbes Wilson of the Forth Valley Public Protection Unit said: “Lewis Grant is a dangerous man who carried out these terrible crimes over a number of years and he will now face the consequences of his despicable actions in prison.

“His victims were incredibly brave to come forward and report Grant, then give evidence in court.

"Our thoughts remain with these women and I hope that today’s sentencing will give them some comfort and help them move forward.

“We remain committed to supporting victims of sexual crimes and thoroughly investigating those responsible by bringing them to justice, no matter how much time has passed.

"I would urge people to come forward to police and report it.

"They can be assured of being fully supported by officers and partner agencies.”