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HMA v Matthew Watson


Jan 17, 2022

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Richardson imposed an extended sentence of 13 years on Matthew Watson after the offender was found guilty of 5 charges and pled guilty to a further 13 charges of the sexual abuse of 10 young women.


On sentencing Lord Richardson made the following statement in court:

“Matthew Watson, you have been found guilty of 5 charges and pled guilty to a further 13 charges of the sexual abuse of 10 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 each of them younger than 16. They were children.
Your behaviour demonstrated a clear pattern – first you contacted these children virtually; gained their trust; and groomed them for your sexual gratification – engaging in sexualised communication which was entirely inappropriate given the age of these girls.  This included many examples of you importuning them with photographs of your penis and demanding – sometimes successfully - nude photographs in return.
Having established virtual contact, in respect of 8 of the young women, you then escalated matters - taking these children out in your car at night to remote locations and then abusing them to some degree. You tried – and sometimes succeeded – in having sexual intercourse with them. In the case of each of the young women, you violated them.  At worst, in the case of three of the women, this involved attempting to or actually raping them.    
I do not intend to go further into the detail of what you have done to each of these women.  In short, it was utterly despicable.  
You subjected each of these young women to deeply distressing experiences.  At worst, it must have been utterly terrifying for them.
It appears that your conduct in respect of all these women was motivated purely and selfishly by your desire to use them for your 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 Statements that have been provided by three of the young women.  I have also been able to see how your 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.  In all the circumstances, I 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 most serious of your actions and, as such, manifest no remorse for what you have done.   
That was also you position at trial but the fact remains that the jury in reaching its verdict believed these young women and rejected, by a majority, what you had to say.
The Criminal Justice Social Work report also assesses you as representing a high risk of reconviction for sexual offences.
In terms of you record, I note that you have a number of analogous convictions and that you have been convicted on six occasions for the breach of Sexual Offences Prevention Orders.
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 Kerrigan.  
I have taken account of the fact that you had, at an earlier stage, offered to plead guilty to a number of the admittedly less serious offences with which you were charged.
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, except charge 22, I sentence you to a cumulo extended sentence of 13 years consisting of a custodial term of 8 years and an extension period of 5 years.  
The custodial term will be backdated to 30 November 2021 when I remanded you 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.
In respect of your conviction for charge 22, I sentence you to 6 months imprisonment.  This is to run concurrently with the other sentences I have imposed.
During your time in custody, I strongly encourage you fully to engage with any support and intervention available to you to assist you in addressing your offending behaviour.
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.”

14 January 2022