Bay singer Iain McLaggan guilty of raping incapacitated teen

Adrienne Carlisle

WELL-KNOWN Port Elizabeth singer Iain McLaggan put his head in his hands and sobbed yesterday as he was convicted in the Grahamstown High Court of raping a British teenager at Shamwari Game Reserve in 2010.

McLaggan’s day went from bad to worse when Judge Glenn Goosen refused to extend his bail pending sentencing on September 27, ordering that he be remanded.

The singer, 31, a member of the Two Tone Show Band, raped the then 18- year-old while serving as a game ranger and student coordinator for international travel company Worldwide Experience at Shamwari Game Reserve.

Before that, McLaggan regularly appeared as a vocalist with the band in Port Elizabeth.

The fragile young woman, now 20, testified that the Worldwide Experience student programme at Shamwari was her first trip away from home alone. She had suffered from an inoperable brain tumour from a young age and her family had always been overprotective. She said McLaggan had raped her after taking her and the rest of the group of international students to a pub in Paterson.

She had had just two glasses of wine, in quick succession, and a shot of sambuka. She had then become terribly ill and had vomited repeatedly.

McLaggan had to carry her from the pub to the taxi and later to her room at Shamwari.

She had suffered at least two serious convulsions in that time.

At one point McLaggan had slapped her as she had stopped breathing. They had left her in her room and had settled into a nearby common room to chat and listen to music.

McLaggan had later sent another student to check on her. At about 4.45am, when everyone else was asleep, he had gone to the semi-comatose girl’s bedroom and raped her.

McLaggan has consistently denied this. He said he had gone to her room to check up on her and had found her alert and awake. She had then seduced him and they had consensual sex.

But Goosen yesterday described his version as highly improbable and not reasonably, possibly true.

The young woman and one of her fellow students testified that she had been terribly ill, had suffered convulsions and had slipped in and out of consciousness for most of the night.

She said she had woken up in pain when she was being raped. She had been a virgin at the time.

The young woman’s doctor, London paediatric endocrinologist Dr Helen Spoudeas, said she suffered from a tumour near her pituitary centre. It had caused an insufficiency of the “stress hormone” cortisol, and this had made her more vulnerable to intoxication.

The alcohol-related seizures were probably because of this insufficiency.

After seizures, people generally suffered from a “post-ictal state” in which they would be groggy or in a deep sleep following the seizure.

Judge Goosen said this had been in keeping with the young woman’s version of events. Her hair had been soiled with vomit, she had suffered seizures, unconsciousness and had even at one point stopped breathing.

This militated against McLaggan’s version that the sex was consensual and initiated by her. “The complainant was in a deep sleep or unconscious and the accused must have known this, and accordingly she did not consent.”

Dressed in a black suit and white shirt, McLaggan dropped his head into his hands and sobbed quietly. His counsel Advocate Terry Price applied to have his bail extended but senior state Advocate Nickie Price opposed the application and the judge ordered he be kept in custody pending sentencing argument on September 27.

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