- James Peterson was found guilty of three counts of attempted murder, two rapes and an assault on a three month old baby
- He beat one victim with a baseball bat, struck her with a knife and threatened to set her on fire with an aerosol can
Monster: James Paterson was jailed for life after he was found guilty of subjecting three pregnant women to a catalogue of violence, including stamping on their stomachs
A violent monster who terrorised pregnant women by stamping on their stomachs and trying to strangle them to death was sentence to life in prison today.
James Paterson had earlier been found guilty of three murder attempts, two rapes and assaulting a baby boy, who was less than three months old.
The trial had heard how the 24-year-old had stamped so hard on one pregnant victim he left footprints on her stomach, while another told how she still bore teeth marks where Paterson had bitten her two years earlier.
He was said to have jumped on a woman’s 'baby bump' as if it were a trampoline and all three women told a jury they had feared for their lives when Paterson tried to throttle them.
During his trial a 22-year-old woman told how Paterson had tried to set her on fire with an aerosol spray, struck her with a knife, run over her foot with a car when she was pregnant and threatened to kill her unborn child.
He also beat her with a baseball bat and dragged her around by the hair.
The woman - who like Paterson’s other victims cannot be identified for legal reasons - also told how he bit her face, wrapped electrical cables round her neck, ripped off her clothes and raped her.
Another 20-year-old woman described how she passed out when Paterson grabbed her by the throat and stopped her breathing and how he kicked her in the stomach while she was pregnant, bit her on the body and raped her.
A third mum, aged 23, said Paterson subjected her to a catalogue of violence which started when she was between four and five months pregnant, including stamping on her stomach.
Paterson also assaulted a baby boy who was less than three months old at the time.
The jury heard how he threw the youngster against the headboard of his cot and dropped him on the floor. Medics found the boy covered in bruises and discovered he had two broken ribs as a result of being tightly squeezed.
At the High Court in Edinburgh , judge Lord Bannatyne told Paterson there was no alternative to a life sentence - known as an order for lifelong restriction in the Scottish courts.
The judge ruled that Paterson of Fife, must serve at least five years before he could ask for parole and ordered that he will also remain on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.
Jailed for life: Paterson was handed the equivalent of a life sentence at the Scottish High Court in Edinburgh
The offences were committed between January 2006 and December 2010 at addresses in Edinburgh and Fife.
During his sentencing advocate depute Kath Harper, prosecuting, told jurors how chilling telephone text messages had revealed Paterson’s true nature.
A message to one woman threatened: 'I will slit your fat face wide open.'
Another text, found by police on he phone of one of his victims, read: 'I will kill you with my bare hands.'
Ms Harper said: 'These texts tell you that what these young women are telling you is credible. They are threatening, they are bullying, they are violent they are frightening.'
The jury rejected Paterson’s claims that his accusers were lying and found him guilty of seven violent offences. He was also convicted of a breach of the peace, a breach of the Communications Act by sending threatening texts and failing to appear at a court hearing.
Solicitor advocate Gordon Martin, defending, said Paterson did not challenge the background report which concluded he should be given an order for lifelong restriction.
Paterson can only be freed when the parole board consider he is no longer a danger and will remain under supervision for the rest of his life.
The Scottish Parliament are currently considering changes to the law which will enable judges in such cases to impose longer minimum sentences.