Cunningham was found guilty by jurors (Image: PA)

A sexual predator raped a vulnerable schoolgirl – after telling her he "didn't care" if she didn't want to.

Daniel Cunningham, now 23, preyed on the teenage victim after meeting her at a shop in July 2019.

He promised her cigarettes before taking her to a wooded area and pouncing on her, a court heard.

Cunningham denied raping the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to a jury at a trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

But jurors found him guilty and he has been remanded in custody ahead of a sentencing hearing, reports GlasgowLive.

Judge Lord Arthurson said: "The jury have convicted you of an extremely serious rape to injury with a vulnerable 14-year-old girl who was a stranger to you when you were 21.

Got a story? Email [email protected]

Cunningham was told he should be "in no doubt" that he will be jailed
(Image: BPM)

"This crime was opportunistic, predatory in nature and the victim was a child.

"Be in no doubt, you will receive a substantial custodial disposal."

The court heard earlier the girl, then 14, first met the rapist at a shop in Hamilton while she was drunk.

She asked Cunningham to buy her cigarettes before he took her by the hand and led her out the shop.

Paul Kearney, prosecuting, said in his closing speech to the jury: "She told you how she went willingly with Cunningham, that he said they would light up cigarettes up the hill.

"A 14-year-old, tempted by offer of something that she wanted. She went with him."

The pair sat down before Cunningham picked the girl up and took her near a wooded area.

Cunningham then repeatedly kissed the girl and performed a sex act on her, it was said.

Mr Kearney stated: "She told the officers how she didn’t want this and was saying things like just leave me, I’ll get you tomorrow just let me go home."

The court heard Cunningham told her to perform a sex act on him before he would "leave her."

He then stated that he "didn't care if you want to or not" before raping the girl.

Cunningham then fled the scene before the girl went home and told her mother.

The defendant, of Carluke, was snared after his DNA was found on the girl's body after swabs were taken.

Sentence was deferred until next month for background reports.

Cunningham, who has never served a custodial sentence, was put on the sex offenders register in the meantime.