Man jailed for attacks on women across Scotland

James Simpson has been sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment for attacks on women in Cupar, Dundee, Forfar and Airdrie
James Simpson has been sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment for attacks on women in Cupar, Dundee, Forfar and Airdrie

A SNAPCHAT stalker who harassed a woman through the social media app and brutally assaulted two other women while they were pregnant has been jailed for three years and four months.

James Simpson subjected the three women to horrific abuse - including trying to strangle one of them with a dressing gown cord and, in another incident, trying to smother her with a pillow.

One of his victims told how during a sustained attack she watched most of an episode of Coronation Street as she lay on the floor while he rained down blows on her.

Simpson was branded “controlling, violent and abusive” by a sheriff at Dundee Sheriff Court as he was handed the lengthy sentence, which was welcomed by one of his victims.

The court was told that the offences against two of his partners only came to light after the third complained to police about his behaviour.

That led to a thorough probe by the Police Scotland Domestic Abuse Task Force.

Fiscal depute Eilidh Robertson told the court that the offences took place at addresses in Airdrie, Dundee, Forfar and Cupar.

She said: “Pauline Hutton was in a relationship with the accused which ended when the accused moved to America.

“They were out of contact until 2007 when he contacted her via social networking.

“She recalls one incident in 2008 or 2009 where the accused pushed her on to a sofa and pulled the cord from her dressing gown.

“He flipped it over her head, pulled her neck forward then crossed both ends of the cord and pulled them causing pressure on her neck.

“She was immediately struggling for breath and he then released the pressure.

“She began to cry and he told her there was nothing to cry about.

“In a further assault he grabbed her by the hair and pulled her to the ground where he began to kick her on both legs.

“She curled in a ball to protect her head and as she was lying could see the TV.

“This sticks in Miss Hutton’s mind as she remembers seeing most of an episode of Coronation Street whilst the accused assaulted her.

“She recalls a further attack where he picked up a pillow from his side of the bed and pushed it down on to her face shouting at her to ‘shut up’.

“He was holding it down forcibly and she was struggling to breathe and was scared.

“In September 2009 Miss Hutton found out she was pregnant - but when she was eight weeks pregnant she was assaulted by the accused.

“He came home from a night out and took her by the hair and pulled her out of bed.

“She fell to the ground and he kicked her on the legs with full force. He got back into bed without saying anything.

“The second complainer, Charlene Tonner, 33, fell pregnant around two months into a relationship with the accused in 2006.

“When she was three months pregnant she was working at the Shell Garage in Forfar and asked him to bring her a change of clothes and some perfume when she finished work.

“He shouted at her for smoking whilst pregnant and threw the clothes and perfume at her.

“He then poushed her from behind down a couple of steps on to some boxes, with her putting her arms out to protect her stomach.

“The final complainer, Leanne Rumgay, is 33 and was in a relationship with the accused from June til December 2013.

“She was assaulted twice by the accused, and was warned by police not to contact Miss Rumgay as she had told them she wanted no contact from the accused.

“On July 11 2014 she received a Snapchat message from the accused suggesting that she be his friend.

“She ignored this and hoped she would get no further messages from him.

“About ten minutes later he sent her a photo of his face, again on Snapchat.

“She did not want to receive contact from the accused and was both fearful and alarmed so reported these messages to police.”

Simpson, 34, a prisoner at HMP Perth, pleaded guilty on indictment to three charges of assault and one of stalking.

Sheriff Alistair Carmichael jailed Simpson for a total of three years and four months.

He said: “I note your remorse, your shame and your apologies and your acknowledgement of your need to address your behaviour towards your partners, as well as the fact you have pled guilty and spared them the ordeal of having to give evidence.

“These offences represent behaviour over a lengthy period of time that was controlling, violent and abusive towards three separate partners.”

Writing on Facebook, Leanne Rumgay welcomed the sentence.

She said: “It may not be enough in some people’s eyes but I am over the moon with the outcome.”