Justice for Ian

A man with learning disabilities who was convicted of attempting to rape a female doctor has been cleared of the crime six months after his death.

Ian Shaw from Inverness was found guilty by a majority jury verdict in 2013 and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.  He was later freed  after 8 weeks pending an appeal and now the Crown will not oppose the appeal.

An examination of Ian’s computer showed that he was on social media sites a short time before the woman was attacked on the banks of the Caledonian Canal and could not have travelled almost three miles to the scene and committed the assault within the time frame of the attack.

Yet somehow following interviews by police, Ian said he had met the woman on the towpath, and tried to kiss and cuddle her.   He said he wanted to have sex with her but she had said no, struggled and ran off. He allegedly told the police officers he would not have raped her saying “I walked home in disgust, thinking it is not in my nature to have done that.”

However none of that was true and in fact he was home at the time.

Much of this evidence was available at the original trial.


  • Ian had lodged a special defence of alibi, claiming he was on the internet at the time of the offence.
  • A computer expert confirmed his computer was in use during those times.
  • The prosecution and defence agreed in a joint minute that after assessment by two psychologists, he was of below average intelligence and highly susceptible to leading questions and suggestions. The experts said he was prone to making things up.
  •  The doctor was twice unable to pick him out of an identity parade, and there was no DNA evidence connecting him to the woman.

It does not appear that there will any further investigation into how it was decided to proceed with a case against Ian with the only evidence against him coming from his confessions when there were clear evidence of his disability and susceptibility to leading questions. Ian spent 8 weeks in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and died with a conviction he didn’t deserve.

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