A WEE COUNTY man is to face a lengthy prison term for the rape of a 14-year-old girl near a children's playpark.

Paul Cunningham, 35, had been asked to buy drink on behalf of the girl and some of her friends in Stirling city centre, but then went with them to Darnley Park in the city's historic Top of the Town area.

He also bought a bottle of Cactus Jack's schnapps and gave some to the 14-year-old.

The girl told investigators she felt uncomfortable about Cunningham remaining with them because he was an adult.

And then as they sat near a climbing frame he started wiping the grass off their thighs.

She said: "He started saying 'you're fit' and everything, 'you're so fit'.

"It made me really uncomfortable."

She said she told Cunningham she was only 14, but he replied that he "didn't care".

She said: "He kissed me and put his tongue in my mouth, and telt me not to tell anyone.

"He took me round a corner and pulled my leggings down, and as I was standing there was a wall behind me."

Cunningham then forced himself on the child.

She went back to her friends and burst into tears, later telling her grandmother she had been raped.

Cunningham, who had given the girl his name and said he had a son of 16, was later arrested.

The incident occurred on September 18, 2020.

Cunningham, of Clackmannan, who told the girl he was originally from Glasgow, denied rape and claimed the girl had consented.

He said he believed she was 17.

On Friday, after a five-day trial, he showed no emotion as a jury at the High Court in Stirling found him guilty of raping the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, after supplying her with alcohol and while she was intoxicated and incapable of giving or withholding consent.

The verdict was unanimous.

Judge Lord Weir deferred sentence until March 3 for a background report.

He continued Cunningham's remand in custody in the meantime, and placed him on the sex offenders' register.

Advocate Louise Arrol said she would reserve mitigation for the sentencing hearing, which will take place at the High Court in Livingston.