SENTENCING STATEMENTS

 

A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an offender in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.

Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.  

Follow us if you wish to receive alerts as soon as statements are published. 

Once charges are spent, any statement in relation to them is removed. Statements published before the launch of the website may be available on request. Please email judicialcomms@scotcourts.gov.uk

The independence of the judiciary is essential to safeguard people’s rights under law - enabling judges to make decisions impartially based solely on evidence and law, without interference or influence from the government or politicians.

When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.

For more information about how judges decide sentences; what sentences are available; and matters such as temporary release, see the independent Scottish Sentencing Council website.

Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.

Read more about civil judgments.

HMA v Connor Murray

 

Nov 10, 2021

At the High Court in Aberdeen Lord Richardson imposed an extended sentence of 10 years on Connor Murray after the offender was found guilty of the sexual abuse of six young women.


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

“Connor Murray, you have been found guilty of 12 charges of the sexual abuse of six young women.

These convictions are the result of your brazen and persistent pursuit of these young women who were, at the start of your contact with them, all younger than 16. They were children.

It appears that you pursued a number of these young women by sending them wholly inappropriate and unwanted Snapchat messages making explicit sexual advances.  In one case, you also sent a photograph of your penis.  The recipients of these messages were children when they received them.

In the case of the three of these young women, unfortunately, your conduct went far beyond simply sending unwanted messages.

In one case, you pursued your sexual advances to the point of touching the girl’s breasts and body on a number of occasions.

But, in respect of two of the young women, you raped them.

In particular, the young woman with whom you had been in a relationship, you started having sexual intercourse with her when she was only 15. You then subjected her to an horrendous series of attacks, raping her repeatedly over a period of months.

It appears that your conduct in respect of all these women was motivated purely and selfishly by your desire for sexual gratification.  You had no thought for the consequences – the impact - of your actions on these young women.

However, I have read the Victim Impact Statement that has been provided by the young woman with whom you had a relationship.  I have also been able to see how you actions have impacted on some of these women through the way in which they were affected by having to give evidence against you. 

It is clear that your actions have had a profound and long lasting impact on some of these young women.  However, I also consider that they are all to be commended for being prepared to come forward as witnesses and put themselves through the process of giving evidence against you.

The Criminal Justice Social Work report discloses that you continue to deny any responsibility for your actions. You show no remorse for your actions – instead claiming that all six of these young women were lying. 

That was also you position at trial but the fact remains that the jury in reaching its unanimous verdict believed each of them and entirely rejected what you had to say.

The Criminal Justice Social Work report also assesses you as representing a very high risk of reconviction for sexual offences.

In terms of you record, I note that although you have never before been sentenced to detention or imprisonment that on 21 July 2017 you were sentenced to a 9 month Community Service Order for sending an indecent image to a young girl under the age of 13.

I have had due regard to your record and to the Report in selecting the sentence for these charges.

I have also taken into account everything that has been said on your behalf by Mr Graham. I take account of the difficulties that you experienced in your transition to adulthood.  I also note that you have been in a stable relationship for 2 years and are fortunate to have family support.

In particular, I take account of your age at the time that you committed these offences. You were aged between 18 and 19 years old at the time. 

You were clearly immature and had an underdeveloped sense of responsibility at the time of this offending. It is possible you have capacity for change. You may yet develop into and demonstrate that you are a responsible adult who no longer offends.  Accordingly, as well as factors such as protection of the public, retribution and deterrence, I take into account prospects for your reintegration and rehabilitation into society. 

However, as you will surely recognise, a lengthy period in custody is the only appropriate sentence I can pass on you to reflect your appalling conduct. 

I am also satisfied that the period for which you would otherwise have been on licence would not be adequate to protect the public from serious harm when you are eventually released.

For that reason, in respect of all charges, I sentence you to an extended sentence of 10 years consisting of a custodial term of 7 years and an extension period of 3 years. Of the custodial part of the sentence, 3 months is in respect of the aggravation which arises in respect of charges 2, 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9.

The custodial term will be backdated to 13 October 2021 when you were remanded in custody. 

The custodial term is not the end of your sentence.

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 three 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.

As a result of your conviction and the sentence imposed, you are subject to the notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.”

10 November 2021