Shops are closing. Newspaper sales are falling. But we’ve chosen to keep our coverage of the Coronavirus crisis free because it’s so important that the people of Glasgow stay informed during this difficult time.

To help us get through this, we’re asking readers who can afford it to contribute either £3, £5 or £8 a month to the Glasgow Times.

If you choose to sign up, we’ll also take away all the adverts – and deliver a digital version of the print paper to your device. Click here to help Save Your Times:

A LORRY driver who raped a stranger after finding her lying in a bus shelter in Glasgow’s Kelvingrove Park was today jailed for five years and six months.

Joseph Hail, 67, was convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of driving his 22-year-old victim to Cumbernauld and raping her in the back seat of his car.

He also sexually assaulted two teenage girls in the Glasgow park. All three offences took place in the early hours.

READ MORE: Man set fire to homeless man's sleeping bag while he slept on Glasgow's streets

Judge Lord Matthews told Hail, who was on a video link from Barlinnie Prison: “On three occasions you were hanging around Kelvingrove Park.

"You said you were there to have a sleep before starting work. The jury rejected that frankly bizarre suggestion.

“The complainer you raped had had a considerable amount of alcohol. She was seen on CCTV at Kelvingrove Art Gallery, Her next recollection is waking up in a car with you.

“You claimed she found you so attractive that she threw herself at you. Your story is frankly ridiculous.”

Defence counsel Louise Arrol said: “He maintains his position that he is innocent. That limits his ability to express remorse.”

The court heard that days after the rape Hail went to his victim's home and posted her purse which was left in his car through her letterbox.

In evidence, the victim  said she remembered leaving a party at the Sanctuary nightclub 

She added: “My next memory is of lying in the back seat of a car. There was a man in between my legs. I remember hearing like a moan coming from the man.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus LIVE: 430 more cases as Scotland hits 1993 - with 60 deaths confirmed

Prosecutor Lisa Gillespie asked the woman, who cannot be named for legal reasons: “Did he say anything to you,” and the witness replied: “No.”

Ms Gillespie then asked: “Do you remember getting into the car?”

The woman replied: “No.”

When asked to described the man she said: “He was older.”

The woman was asked what was the next thing she remembered and replied: “I was sitting on the grass. I was crying. I was just scared I couldn't remember what had happened.”

She addd: “One of my shoes was tied differently from the other and my pants were all twisted.”

The court heard that the woman eventually managed to get in touch with her mother and the police were phoned.

An intimate swab was taken and the DNA matched Hail, from Bonnyrbidge.

The court heard that days after the rape Hail put the woman's missing purse through her letterbox.

He was asked how he got her address and replied: “I got her driver's licence with her address on it.

“I chapped the door and sat there all afternoon. I went back the next night and the purse was too thick to got through, then on the following morning I managed to get the purse thorough the letterbox.”

Hail then tried twice in September to get in contact with his victim on Facebook.

When asked about this he replied: “I was thinking to go on to see if she got her purse alright.”

He claimed they had consensual sex and added: “It just happened. It was her that came on to me.”

The rape took place at an unknown location in Cumbernauld on August 27, 2018.

Hail was also convicted of sexually assaulting two girls, aged 16 and 19, on October 1, 2018 in Kelvingrove Park.

Hail was placed on the sex offenders' register.