A MAN who abducted and raped a child at knifepoint in a van in Cowdenbeath has been sent to prison for 12 years.

Last month Lord Joseph Lowther, 42, was found guilty of terrifying sex attacks on five females and he returned to the High Court in Edinburgh today for sentencing.

He was given a 12-year term by judge Lord Sandison for the offences which took place over 20 years and showed his "moral depravity".

His youngest victim was nine when she was attacked.

Another was 12 when Lowther preyed on her between August 18, 2000 and September 11, 2000.

The woman, who is now 34, told the court that Lowther pushed her into his van at a location in Cowdenbeath.

He then seized her by the legs and covered her mouth with his hand.

Lowther repeatedly threatened to kill the female, before pinning her down and raping her.

He also struck a knife on the floor beside her head as he raped her.

Describing the sickening attack, the woman wept as she told prosecution lawyer John Keenan: “I lay there scared.

"I was in a lot of pain at the time. He said to me ‘get your s**t together and get out.

“He said if I told anyone he would kill me.”

Lowther, of Burntisland, is not a peer and added 'Lord' to his name by deed poll.

He was convicted on six charges of rape and sexual assault following a trial last month.

In court today for sentencing, he continued to maintain he was innocent of all charges.

Lord Sandison told Lowther he’d have to spend time in jail for his crimes and said: “You continue to show no insight into the enormity of your actions.

“There’s nothing to be gained from continuing to lecture you on your moral depravity.

“The sentence of the court will be one of 12 years.”

During proceedings, the woman raped by Lowther in his van told jurors of an incident sometime between May 2006 and April 2008 in which she was sexually assaulted for a second time.

She told Mr Keenan that Lowther approached her at another location in Cowdenbeath and attacked her.

The woman told the court that she was concerned for her safety and didn’t tell anybody what had happened.

She added: “I didn’t feel strong enough to speak out.”

Police eventually learned about Lowther’s activities and launched an investigation which succeeded in securing enough evidence to bring him to justice.

Officers discovered that he had raped another woman at a caravan site in Moray sometime between May 2009 and December 2010.

He also repeatedly raped the female at other locations in Scotland between January 2013 and December 31 2016.

Between June 1, 2016 and September 3, 2016, Lowther raped another woman at a location close to Cowdenbeath whilst she was sleeping and intoxicated and unable to provide consent.

He raped another woman on November 7, 2017 at a house in Cowdenbeath,

He also repeatedly raped a little girl on various occasions between January 1, 2018 and January 18, 2021 at locations in Fife.

The child was aged just nine-years-old when the abuse began.

Defence advocate Dale Hughes told the court that his client was a member of the travelling community and had been taken out of school aged nine to help out with his family’s business.

He said Lowther had been on remand since January 2021 and added: “He has had some mental health difficulties. He has had anxiety disorder and has required some medication for that.

“Whilst on remand he contracted the Delta variant of Covid 19 which required hospitalisation which was not a pleasant experience.”

Lowther, who has previous convictions for dishonesty, indecent exposure and road traffic offences, will be supervised by the authorities for three years following his release from custody.

He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.