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Notorious rapist church leader from Fife found dead in prison

Stephen Charters.
Stephen Charters.

A serial sex offender from Fife has been found dead in prison days after being jailed.

Former church leader, Stephen Charters, 57, was jailed on June 13.

He was found dead in his cell in Saughton prison in Edinburgh on Sunday night, the Scottish Prison Service confirmed.

Charters had been imprisoned at the High Court in Edinburgh for a minimum of five years and made the subject of an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) – meaning he may never have been freed.

He had attacked a teenager from the Leven church in which he was involved after she reached out to him for help.

Instead of giving her the aid she sought, he took her to a hotel in Edinburgh and raped her.

Rapist Stephen Charters was reportedly found dead in Saughton Prison, Edinburgh.
Rapist Stephen Charters was reportedly found dead in Saughton Prison, Edinburgh.

It was one of a series of sexual crimes of which he was convicted following a trial last year.

The nine offences included rape, sexual assault and indecent conduct towards four victims, committed between November 1984 and October 2015.

He had already served a prison term imposed in 2016 for sexual crimes against children.

At his sentencing hearing, Charters’ solicitor said his client maintained his innocence.

Imposing the OLR – which meant Charters would have to persuade the authorities he was no longer a danger before being freed – judge Lady Carmichael said: “You present a high risk of further sexual offending.

“You have a limited capacity for change.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “On Sunday, 19 June 2022, officers were made aware of the death of a male within HMP Edinburgh.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and a report will be submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.”

Third sex offender to die

Charters is the third sex offender from Tayside and Fife to die behind bars in a fortnight.

Dundee paedophile Gordon Fraser was found dead in HMP Addiewell on June 5, a year after being jailed for historical sex attacks on two children.

And Fife man David Ferguson, jailed for a decade for raping two women, was found in HMP Edinburgh the day before.

Dundee paedophile Gordon Fraser dies in prison