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Lindsay Armstrong, 17, was so traumatised that she ended her life by taking an overdose of anti-depressants. Her parents, who found her dead in her bed on Tuesday, said she felt she had been “raped all over again” during the two-week trial.
The 15-year-old who raped her, who cannot be named because of his age, will be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow next week. Her father Frank, speaking at their home in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, said his daughter had been “tortured” by the attack and by her treatment in the witness box.
“We were hoping and praying that this animal would at least spare her the ordeal of giving evidence,” he said.
“But it didn’t happen and she ended up being torn to shreds by his defence lawyer after spending all day on the stand. They basically called her a tart who deserved to be raped. That’s how she felt at the end of the day.”
When his daughter came out of the court she was crying uncontrollably. She was also furious at being questioned about her underwear.
“She said the worst part of being questioned was when she was forced to hold up the G-string that she was wearing that night and show the court her underwear. She said she was absolutely mortified.”
Her mother Linda added that her daughter was “mentally and physically scarred” by the rape, but determined to put the rapist behind bars. “But I think that taking her own life was the only way Lindsay could find any peace. She was tortured by what he put her through.
“I am so angry that I could kill him with my bare hands.”
Elspeth White, of the Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Edinburgh, said: “I don’t know how the defence can live with themselves. What she was wearing is totally irrelevant.
“There is now a definite and genuine, urgent need for special courts to be set up. Specialist lawyers and judges should also be trained to deal far more sensitively with these cases.”
Gil Paterson, the Scottish National Party MSP who heads a parliamentary working group on violence against women, also called for the system to be overhauled. “The way to stop this persecution of a victim is for judges to crack down on lawyers who overstep the mark and make such evidence inadmissible,” he said.
Miss Armstrong was raped in a park near her home last September. She could not fight off the attacker because of a back condition suffered since she was a child.
She had hoped to become a lawyer, but left school after the attack because she was afraid to leave her house.