A rapist who attacked two girls when he was a boy has been handed a lighter prison sentence due to his age and “immaturity” at the time of his offences.
Mohammed Ahmed was 12 years old when he attacked two younger girls, subjecting them to rape and violence.
His victims were both aged nine when the abuse began, the High Court in Edinburgh heard.
Ahmed was caught years later after being confronted by one of his victims.
During an earlier trial, Ahmed admitted that it was he who initially contacted police following the confrontation, and intimated he wanted to take his own life due to the allegations against him.
Ahmed, now 24, had denied a series of charges but was found guilty of five offences involving the girls.
He was jailed for four years on Monday. He will also be supervised for two years upon his release from prison and has been placed on the sex offenders’ register for an indefinite period.
Lord Doherty said he had “particular regard” to the fact the sexual offences were committed when Ahmed was an “adolescent child”.
The judge said: “Had you been an adult at the time of all of these offences, the sentence I would have passed would have been more severe.
“In light of your immaturity at the time of most of these offences, the sentence which I pass is an extended sentence of six years’ imprisonment, of which the custodial part is four years and the extension period is two years.”
New guidelines for sentencing under-25s came into effect in Scotland in January 2022.
The Scottish Sentencing Council recommended a more “individualistic approach” to take account of the perpetrator’s life experiences.
The changes were made to help reduce reoffending by focusing on rehabilitation rather than punishment.
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Ahmed attacked his victims at an address in Edinburgh.
He sexually assaulted and raped one girl when she was aged nine in December 2010. He was also convicted of assaulting her by punching her, grabbing her by the hair and dragging her.
Ahmed also sexually assaulted and raped a second girl on various occasions between 2010 and 2014.
His physical assaults went on for a longer period. He was convicted of punching her and pulling her hair, and on one occasion he pushed her down stairs and throttled her by putting his arm around her neck, endangering her life.
Lord Doherty said Ahmed’s offences displayed a “sustained course of serious sexual abuse of the victims”.
He said: “The victims were significantly younger than you.”
The judge added that it was clear from the evidence and victim impact statements that the offending had “significant consequences” for them.
Lord Doherty noted a background report which highlighted Ahmed’s difficult childhood and mental health issues. He also acknowledged that Ahmed had no previous convictions.
Defence counsel Gareth Jones told the court that Ahmed continued to deny committing the offences, but added: “I acknowledge serious harm was caused to both complainers.”