A MAN has been jailed for 12 years after being convicted of a sex attack on a woman at a remote caravan.

Thomas Feeney, 47, from Airdrie, tied up his victim at gunpoint and covered her mouth and eyes with duct tape before subjecting her to a humiliating ordeal.

He also forced her to hand over £2,000 in savings and took the keys to her BMW 3 series car.

He carried out the attack with tights covering his head.

The car was found abandoned later nearby.

Before he left the caravan Feeney, who told the court he likes to dress up as a woman, took underwear from his 33-year-old victim's laundry bag.

Feeney was found guilty of robbing and sexually assaulting the woman at a static caravan near Shotts, North Lanarkshire, on September 5 last year, with intent to rape.

He was also convicted of using an imitation gun with intent to cause the woman to believe unlawful violence would be used against her.

The High Court in Glasgow heard the woman had been staying with her fiancé in the remote static caravan while their dream home was being built.

They intended to use the cash to pay the bills for building work.

Judge Norman Ritchie QC told Feeney: "This was a planned crime. You appear to have had some inside information about money within the caravan. You went to the caravan equipped with cable ties, duct tape, an imitation gun and masked and you chose a time when this woman would be on her own.

"You sexually abused her and your defence was preposterous."

Feeney had claimed that he was framed for the crime by people who had it in for him.

But the jury convicted him unanimously after hearing that his DNA was found in the caravan, which he claimed he had never visited.

In evidence the woman said she was pushed into the bedroom and her wrists, eyes and mouth were bound with duct tape.

She added: "He said he was taking me with him and I was getting used as a sex slave.

"I started shouting: 'Don't take me with you. You can't take me with you.'

"He opened the bedroom door and pushed me on to the bed face first. He let go of me and shut the curtains. I thought he was going to rape me."

He then sexually assaulted her. The woman said that she was "terrified".

The incident ended with him driving off in her car. Although Feeney left behind his DNA he was not on the police database and initially detectives had little to go on.

Details of the attack were not made public until two months after the incident, when police said they had been carrying out "complex, sensitive and covert inquiries".

Officers carried out a major operation in November last year, speaking to dozens of motorists in the area.

The incident was featured on BBC's TV's Crimewatch programme

But the breakthrough in the case came when a dog-walker came across items thrown away at a disused quarry.

Feeney's mobile phone was found alongside the woman's thong - which was stolen from the caravan on the day of the sex attack.

His DNA matched that found on the woman's clothing and on a piece of duct tape and two cable-ties found at the scene of the crime.

In evidence, Feeney denied that he had ever been at the caravan.

Referring to the sex attack, he said: "I would never do anything like that."

He added: "I wasn't there. I am being framed for this."

The court heard that Feeney's victim is now terrified to be alone as a result of the horrific attack on her.

Feeney was placed on the sex offenders' register by Judge Ritchie.