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Friday, 19 July, 2002, 11:42 GMT 12:42 UK
Rape case sparks law change calls
High Court
Lindsay gave evidence at the High Court in Glasgow
Calls for a change in the way rape cases are dealt with by Scottish courts have been renewed after a teenage victim committed suicide.

Lindsay Armstrong's family said she had been "tortured" by the assault and by the way she was treated when she testified against her attacker.

A spokeswoman for the Women's Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre in Edinburgh said it was "clearly inappropriate" that the 17-year-old had to hold up the underwear she had been wearing at the time of the attack during the trial.


She was determined to give evidence against him and for him to be found guilty as she didn't want it to happen to anyone else

Linda Armstrong, Lindsay's mother
"I think the case backs the call for specialist rape courts in Scotland very strongly," she said.

"These are courts where people would be given specialist training on rape and sexual abuse.

"I think that everybody who is coming into contact with these cases should receive that training."

Lindsay, who was sexually assaulted by a 14-year-old boy last year, was found dead in bed on Tuesday after a suspected overdose.

Her attacker, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was convicted of raping Lindsay near her home in New Cumnock, Ayrshire, and is due to be sentenced at the High Court in Glasgow.

Lindsay's mother Linda, 39, said her daughter had vowed to testify against her attacker but the whole ordeal proved too much for her and she obviously needed to "find peace".

'Torn to shreds'

Her father Frank told the Daily Record newspaper: "We were hoping and praying that this animal would at least spare her the ordeal of giving evidence.

"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."

Mrs Armstrong said: "She was mentally and physically scarred by what happened and never got over it.

High court inside
The family said the court ordeal proved too much
"She was determined to give evidence against him and for him to be found guilty as she didn't want it to happen to anyone else.

"I think that taking her own life was the only way she could find peace."

Mrs Armstrong said her daughter was raped in the town's Greenhead Park on 7 September last year.

Lindsay, she said, had been bright student and, just weeks before she was attacked, had celebrated achieving eight Standard Grades, five with credit, from Cumnock Academy.

She said: "After what happened to her, she became withdrawn and quit school.

Aggressive questioning

"She wasn't as loud as before and was scared to leave the house."

Mrs Armstrong said her daughter wanted to be in court to "see justice done".

However, she said: "She was obviously going through so much turmoil and felt she couldn't take any more."

The Armstrongs said Lindsay was upset and "mortified" by aggressive questioning from the defence and the personal details sought about her, including the underwear she had been wearing at the time of the attack.

See also:

18 Jul 02 | Wales
08 Jun 00 | Scotland
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