A rapist who abducted a woman and subjected her to a terrifying sex attack within months of being released from a 12-year jail term faces a life sentence.

Peter Syme's first victim was a pregnant woman. He appeared at her door wearing a balaclava mask and wielding a sawn-off shotgun and shaved her head before raping her.

This time, he was carrying a knife as he grabbed a 29-year-old woman who was about to get into her car after leaving work.

The woman, who was sitting in the public benches, collapsed in tears at the end of yesterday's proceedings in the High Court in Edinburgh.

Lord Philip said he would defer sentence until today to study a psychiatric report on Syme.

Syme, 43, who changed his name to Andrew McWilliam after he was released from jail earlier this year, insisted the voice of his dead father had made him abduct the woman.

Yesterday, he belatedly changed his plea to guilty but only after forcing his victim to go into the witness box to relive in humiliating detail her seven-hour ordeal.

Syme also went into the witness box to insist the woman had initiated all the sexual activity and that he had done ''nothing whatsoever'' to her.

However, after an adjournment, he tendered a plea of guilty to abducting the woman on August 27 this year while in possession of a knife and with intent to commit a sexual assault. He forced her to lie face down on the back seat of her car and tied her hands behind the back with a stocking. He repeatedly made indecent suggestions and committed a sex attack.

He promised he would not rape her or kill her as long as she did what she was told but she said that, throughout her ordeal, she feared for her life.

The woman told the court Syme used her mobile phone to call her husband and demand he pack a bag with a short skirt, a skimpy blouse, stockings, and suspenders.

At first, her husband thought it was a joke but realised it was serious when the man on the other end of the phone demanded he pack a bag with his wife's underwear.

Syme took her on a journey of nearly 200 miles around Tayside and Grampian, often on back roads. She finally managed to loosen her bonds and escape as he filled up the car at a petrol station in Brechin.

Even then, Syme grabbed her and tried to drag her back into the car.

After Syme's guilty plea yesterday, Mr Sam Cathcart, Advocate-depute, drew to the court's attention the previous conviction of the accused at the High Court in Aberdeen in June 1989, when he was jailed for 10 years for assault and rape, plus two years for a firearms offence.

Mr Cathcart said a psychiatric report had been prepared on Syme in September this year and, despite Syme's evidence (about the voice of his dead father), there was nothing in the report to suggest he had been suffering from hallucinations or delusions.

In the opinion of the psychiatrist, Syme was not suffering from a mental disorder and there was no recommendation for further psychiatric intervention.

Another psychiatrist described Syme as ''highly dangerous'' after his rape of the pregnant woman in 1989.

After forcing his way into their Kincardine croft at gunpoint, he ordered a couple to lie down before tying their hands and gagging the husband with a newspaper. He tightened a tie round the man's head to keep the gag in place then locked him in a shed.

Still holding the gun and wearing a balaclava mask, he forced the pregnant woman into a bedroom and ordered her to strip. He took scissors and an electric razor and cut her hair and shaved her head before raping her.

He gave himself up in the early hours of the morning after armed police surrounded his house.

When Syme appeared at the High Court in Aberdeen, Lord Cowie was told he was a ''shy loner-type of person'' who had been drastically affected by the death of his father when he was 15.

When he was released earlier this year, Syme changed his name to Andrew McWilliam and moved into a cottage near Fettercairn, north of Montrose, just four miles from the home of his rape victim.

Local residents expressed concern at his presence in the area where he was brought up and the victim was said to be afraid to leave her home in case she met him.

One young mother said: ''This was a beautiful, tranquil community, where you could let your children roam and leave your doors open without fear. This has shattered all of that.''

By the time of the abduction, Syme was living in bed and breakfast accommodation near where his next victim worked.

Maximum sentence urged

SYME should be jailed for life to prevent him striking again, a women's rights group said last night.

He provoked outrage earlier this year by setting up home just four miles from his first victim's house after his release from prison.

The 43-year-old moved into a cottage near Fettercairn, Montrose, in May, prompting concern for the safety of women in the area. Locals complained to the police after his first victim was said to be afraid to leave her home.

Last night, a spokeswoman for Scottish Women's Aid said Syme's second victim could have been saved from her ordeal had he received the maximum sentence following his first rape.

Ms Lesley Irving, a national worker with the organisation, said: ''Since this is not the first time the offender has committed this type of crime, it is a clear example of how it would have been helpful if the judge's discretion towards life sentences had been used the first time.

''If it had been used, then he wouldn't have been free to return to the same village as his first victim and cause her a great deal of stress, trauma, and upset, and then to have

re-offended in the way he did.

''Rape is a very serious crime and it should be treated as such when it comes to sentencing. There has to be a deterrent effect and the community has to be protected, therefore longer sentences are required so that these two things can be achieved. He should be given life this time.''