Student sex attacker sentenced to five years in prison

Photo: SalFaxo

A former astronomy PhD student has been sentenced to five years in prison and expelled from the University for sexually assaulting two women.

Pasquale Galianni, 31, carried out the attacks on St Andrews students in November 2013 and April 2014.

Mr Galianni – who had almost finished his PhD research into dark matter – will also be monitored upon his release for a further two years. He will not be allowed to complete his thesis.

Judge Lord Burns, who sentenced Mr Galianni at Glasgow High Court, noted that the attacks which so shocked the St Andrews community were very similar to attacks he had carried out on three women in Germany in 2006. For these offences, Mr Gallianni received a suspended sentence, but spent 10 months on remand.

Mr Gallianni was cleared of a third charge of rape. He insisted that the sex had been consensual and the woman told the court that she had had an alcoholic blackout and could not know whether she had given consent.

The astronomy student was arrested in May 2014 following a police investigation by the Divisional Rape Investigation Unit which centred around the release of CCTV footage of him walking around town.

The Senior Investigating Officer, Detective Chief Inspector Michelle Johnson said: “I would like to thank all the young women who came forward and would commend their courage in reporting these incidents to police. Their bravery allowed us to launch an investigation leading to the capture of this sexual predator and to prevent him from further attacks on women.

“The public response to our UK wide appeal for information greatly assisted in identifying this man. We would like to thank both the public and the media for their help.”

In 2013, Mr Gallianni won the Cormack Prize of the Royal Society of Edinburgh for the best journal paper by a research student in Astronomy at a Scottish university.


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