SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

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HMA v Allan Rotchford

 

Jan 19, 2021

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Fairley sentenced Allan Rotchford to an Order for Lifelong Restriction after the offender was found guilty of rape; indecent assaults and extortion.

 

On sentencing, Lord Fairley made the following statement in court:

“Allan Rotchford, on 28 February 2020, you were convicted by a jury of a total of 12 charges. Six of those charges were of rape contrary to section 1 of the Sexual Offences Scotland Act, 2009; two were of penetrative indecent assaults at common law; one was a penetrative assault contrary to section 2 of the 2009 Act; one was of a sexual assault with intent to rape contrary to sections 1 and 3 of that Act. The final two charges were of extortion at common law of indecent images and videos of two of your victims by the use of threats.

Your offending spanned a period of nine and a half years and involved a total of four different victims, all of whom were women with whom you had, at the material times, formed intimate relationships.

Your conduct included the drugging of some of your victims as well as the use of force and violence. The evidence on the extortion charges showed you to be highly manipulative, deceitful and extraordinarily cruel.

Having regard to the terms of these convictions and the terms of a Criminal Justice Social Work Report dated 17 March 2020, I considered that the risk criteria might be met in your case and so I called for a risk assessment report.

In that report, dated 8 September 2020, the accredited risk assessor describes you as easily meeting the diagnostic criteria for severe personality disorder with detachment and dissociality. The impact of such a disorder is that your anti-sociality is entrenched, and you have no inhibitions about harming others. She also notes that you display a range of psychopathic traits and concludes that you present a high level of risk to public safety, particularly the safety of women. She expresses little confidence that treatment is likely to prove effective, and expresses the view that your current potential for change is very limited.

As a result of the findings in the risk assessment report of 8 September 2020, a further report was instructed by your solicitors from a different forensic psychologist. She reported on 11 January 2021. She found that you meet the criteria for narcissistic personality disorder, and probable anti-social personality disorder. She also noted traits associated with psychopathy and also assessed you as high risk. She considered the alternative of an extended sentence, but expressed significant concerns about the risk that you may continue to pose at the end of any period of post-release supervision. 

I have considered both of those reports very carefully, and have listened to what has been said on your behalf today. On the basis of the evidence before me I am entirely satisfied that the risk criteria under section 210E of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act, 1995, are met. In particular, I am satisfied from the materials that I have seen that the offences of which you were found guilty form part of a pattern of behaviour such as to demonstrate an enduring propensity seriously to endanger the lives or physical or psychological well-being of the public. An order for lifelong restriction is plainly necessary and appropriate to protect the public –in particular, women – from the serious risk that you present.

An Order for Lifelong Restriction is a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period. I shall impose such an order in respect of all the twelve charges of which you have been convicted on the present indictment taken together.

The law requires me to set a minimum term of imprisonment in respect of this order (referred to as the punishment part of your sentence). This is the minimum period you must serve before the Parole Board for Scotland can, in the future, consider your case.

Had the risk criteria for the imposition of an order for lifelong restriction, not been met I would have imposed an extended sentence in respect of all the charges taken together. The custodial term of that sentence would have been 14 years (of which 6 months would have related to the domestic aggravations in respect of Charges 18 and 20-24, and 6 months would have related to the bail aggravations on Charges 23 and 24). The public protection element would have been met by an extension period imposed for that specific purpose. The result, under the applicable legislation, is that the punishment part for the purposes of the order for lifelong restriction is 7 years imprisonment – being one half of the 14 year term.

I emphasise that this is no more than a minimum period that you must serve before the Parole Board can consider your case. It certainly does not signify that you are likely to be released at that stage or indeed ever. That, as I have said, will be for others to decide.

The sentence of imprisonment will be backdated to 12 February 2019 when you were first remanded in custody in connection with Charges 20 to 24.

As a result of the sentence imposed you will be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period. Your name has also been added to the list of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.

In light of the significant sexual elements of the extortion charges, and the information provided by the first of the two reporting risk assessors, I consider it appropriate also to make a Sexual Offences Prevention Order prohibiting you until further order of this Court from:

  • contacting or attempting to contact by any means any of the complainers named in the charges of which you were convicted on 28 February 2020
  • accessing, viewing or distributing by any means any still or moving image of any such complainer.”

 19 January 2021