SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Robert Warnock

 

Apr 3, 2020

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (6 February 2020) Judge Liddle sentenced Robert Warnock to an extended sentence of 14 years, with a custodial term of 11 years after he was convicted of attempted murder and assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

On sentencing Judge Liddle made the following statement in court:
 
“You have been convicted of one charge of attempted murder and one assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. The crime of murder involves the unlawful killing of another person, wickedly intending to kill him or her, or acting in such a way as to show wicked recklessness as to whether the other person lives or dies. The only difference between murder and attempted murder is that death did not result.
 
It was clear from some of the evidence heard by the jury that those who live in the Greenock area that you and your associates operate within, are fearful. Your attempted murder victim was an inebriated female and the other was her partner. The jury heard evidence that your victims offended another person for whom you appeared to be some sort of henchman. There was evidence you were directed to “do them” or some such thing. The evidence was that you readily complied with a brutal and cowardly attack. You are a particularly dangerous man from whom the public need to be protected.
 
The evidence was that you armed yourself against your defenceless victims with a meat cleaver in one hand and an axe in the other. You hacked at your female victim with a meat cleaver. She received a deep wound from one ear round to the centre of her neck. It was something of a miracle that you did not hit an artery causing her to rapidly bleed out there in the street where she collapsed onto her back. She ended up in hospital in an induced coma whilst being treated for her wounds. Her partner was cut by you from between his eyes to an ear. He has been left permanently scarred. These, of course, are only the physical injuries. It is likely that the psychological injury caused to each will remain with them for a long time coming and perhaps forever.
 
I have read the CJSWR. You know that there was DNA evidence against you. You continue to partially deny responsibility. However, you fall to be sentenced on what the jury found you guilty of.
 
The report author assesses you as presenting a high risk of re-offending and makes reference to your pro-criminal associations. I take that into account.
 
The report author also makes mention of your offending history and I take that into account. You have a violent disposition and have repeatedly been associated with weapons. In 2014 you were convicted of a number of offences involving knives for which you received 6 and 7 months detention. In October 2015 you were convicted of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement using a knife and sentenced to 18 months detention. You then were convicted in August 2018 in respect of disorder and possession of a baseball bat, for which you were sentenced to 16 months imprisonment.
 
I take account of what is contained in the Criminal Justice Social Work Report, what has been said on your behalf and your previous criminal record.
 
Attempted murder is not the only crime you fall to be sentenced for. It is open to me to sentence you for each crime separately. Had I done so, I would be passing a shorter consecutive sentence in relation to the assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. Adding those together would have resulted in a longer accumulated sentence that I propose to pass. I accordingly pass a cumulo sentence.
 
Because of the gravity of the violent crimes you have committed and your previous criminal record, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal in your case. I am concerned to ensure that the public is adequately protected against serious harm from you when you are eventually released. For that reason I am going to pass on you an extended sentence of 14 years, which is two parts.
 
The first part of the sentence is an immediate period in custody of 11years. The custodial term will be backdated to 2 July 2019 when you were first placed on remand.
 
The second part of your sentence will be served in the community. From the date of your release, you will be under licence for an extension period of 3 years. The conditions of your licence will be fixed by the Scottish Ministers. If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this case. The court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.”