A man who raped a woman before burning her alive has been jailed.
Rhys Bennett, 23, confessed to sexually assaulting and killing mum-of-two Jill Barclay after following her home from a night out in Aberdeen, Scotland, on September 17, 2022.
The High Court in Edinburgh heard Bennett raped the 47-year-old before dousing her in petrol and setting her on fire.
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Sentencing, Lord Arthurson said: "Your crimes against Ms Barclay were unimaginably wicked and indeed medieval in their barbarity."
Bennett will serve a minimum of 24 years before he is eligible for parole.
Bennett, from Ballingry in Fife, didn't know his victim before the attack.
He had been out with colleagues at the Spider's Web pub where he met Ms Barclay and followed her on her way home before attacking her in what Lord Arthurson said "plainly involved extreme, sustained and frankly feral violence."
The court heard Bennett by repeatedly hit and kicked Ms Barclay, stamped on her head and body and smashed her head against a downpipe before raping her.
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He then doused her in petrol and set her on fire.
Forensic evidence showed Ms Barclay was likely still alive when she was burned, Prosecutor Lorraine Glancy KC told the court.
Some of Ms Barclay's journey was captured on security camera footage, which was presented to the court.
Bennett had overtaken her by the time she reached the place where she was attacked, but it was impossible to work out whether the pair had interacted by that point.
Ms Glancy told the court: “He slows at one point, turning backwards as if looking to see where Jill Barclay is.
“Jill Barclay then appears some 25 seconds later. She is walking extremely slowly. She then stops for several seconds before slowly making her way in the same direction of the accused.
“The footage is quite chilling. It shows Jill Barclay is wary of being too close to the accused. Having attempted on several occasions to distance herself from him, she is very clearly anxious, scared even, about the accused’s behaviour.”
Both Bennett and Ms Barclay moved out of the camera's view at around 12.51am and screams were heard.
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Lord Arthurson told Bennett: "The available evidence tells the horrible truth that your victim was still living at the time that the fire was set.
"To be crystal clear: you burned her alive."
He was handed a punishment period of 24 years for the rape and murder and four years for defeating the ends of justice, to run concurrently.
He has also been put on the sex offenders register indefinitely.
If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.
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