A notorious rapist once described as a “serious danger” to public safety has lost a human rights challenge against the Scottish Government.

Gordon Burns, 61, is concerned that ministers would delay a decision on whether he could have “unescorted access” from his cell at HMP Greenock into the community.

The sex offender, from Bridgeton, received a life sentence in 2000 for the brutal rape of two teenage prostitutes in Glasgow and was told he’d have to serve a minimum of nine years.

The judge in that case described him as "a serious danger" after hearing defence advocate Frances McMenamin QC say that a report detailing Burns’s offending made "highly disturbing reading”. She also said that it was clear that Burns once had "deeply entrenched views" towards crime and women.

A jury had earlier heard how Burns’ victims - two teenage prostitutes - had been picked up by him in Glasgow’s East End and raped and brutally assaulted at a house in Bellshill.

The first victim, who was aged 19 when she gave evidence , spoke of how she was picked up by Burns near the Barrowland ballroom in Glasgow.

She told the court of how she sexually assaulted with a a gun and pole before being raped.

She told prosecutor Joanna Johnston, prosecuting: "He tied my wrists and ankles to a bed before assaulting me."

She said she was abducted again months later in March by a friend of Burns and both men drove her to a farmhouse at Gartocharn in West Dunbartonshire in the boot of a car.

The woman claimed she was again raped by Burns, who threatened to kill her, and was held captive in a cupboard overnight.

Burns’ second victim, an 18-year-old prostitute wept in the witness box as she told of her abuse ordeal.

She said she had been sexually assaulted with a hammer before being raped by Burns and told Miss Johnston at the High Court in Glasgow: "There was no furniture in the house apart from the bed.”

In 2015, Burns was given a further five years after being found guilty of raping a 13-year-old girl and sexually abusing a second girl between the age of five and 11.

The offences took place in various locations between 1986 and 1996.

They only came to light in 2012, more than 20 years later, after one victim contacted police.

The court heard that Burns raped the 13-year-old girl at a dirt track near Biggar, Lanarkshire, in October 1986 and March 1987.

The victim, now aged 41, told how she became "panicky" when he drove down the quiet road.

She told prosecutor Shanti Maguire: "He then put the knife to my throat and raped me.

"He basically told me: 'You're going to work as a prostitute for me. You do as I want or you'll end up in the bottom of the Clyde.'"

She added: "I was 13 years old and I was raped at knifepoint. Afterwards he got back into the driver's seat.”

In the present case, the court heard how Burns had been allowed “escorted” leave from prison on past occasions. He is currently awaiting a decision on whether he can undertake a community work placement. In order to do this, Scottish Ministers have to decide that he is suitable for unescorted leave into the community However, his lawyers believe that the ministers will delay making that decision and his human rights are being breached..

Burns’s advocate David Leighton told the court of how people who have been jailed in recent years for similar crimes to his client have been given Orders for Lifelong Restriction - a sentence that was introduced in Scotland in the 2000s.

Judge Lord Sandison heard that Burns was jailed before the introduction of OLRs and that he was given a “discretionary” life sentence. The court heard that politicians make the decision on whether offenders in this position are granted liberty.

Lawyers for Burns claimed that it took risk management authorities just five weeks to consider applications whilst it took the ministers 255 days to consider requests made by people like Burns.

Mr Leighton claimed that the different ways in which these prisoners claims were assessed created a difference between them. He also argued that this created a situation where his client was being unfairly discriminated against.

However, Lord Sandison rejected the arguments made by Burns’s legal team. In a judgement issued by the court on Thursday, Lord Sandison wrote: “In the present case… the aim pursued by the different sentencing regimes applicable to the groups identified as analogous is to cater for different combinations of offending and risk in ways deemed appropriate by law from time to time. That was accepted as a legitimate aim in… both in the European Court of Human Rights and in the UK Supreme Court.

“Looking at matters in that light, I conclude that the difference in treatment between discretionary life prisoners and those subject to orders for lifelong restriction is reasonably and objectively justified.”