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HMA v Stephanie Bowie


Jul 7, 2022

At the High Court in Stirling today, Lord Weir sentenced Stephanie Bowie to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 16 years after the offender was convicted of murder.

On sentencing Lord Weir, made the following remarks in court:

"On New Years’ Day 2021, in parkland near the Grill in the Park Restaurant in Erskine, you stabbed Darren Russell twice in the chest with a kitchen knife, as a direct result of which Mr Russell died a short time later.  The jury, having heard evidence about the circumstances in which you inflicted those stab wounds, convicted you of murder.

You told the social workers who prepared the Criminal Justice Social Work Report that, at the time of the offence, you were under the influence of both drink and drugs.  As you know, that affords no defence to your actions, nor does it in any way excuse them.  Indeed, whatever dispute or disagreement may have been behind your decision to do so, the evidence revealed that you travelled from Paisley to Erskine by taxi, armed with a knife which you were prepared to use to inflict lethal violence on your victim.
At the time of his death Darren Russell was 21 years of age.  I have read the victim statement from his family which is eloquent of the devastating loss which they have suffered, and for which you have shown limited remorse.  No sentence of this court can truly alleviate the pain they continue to bear from that loss. 

The crime of murder carries with it a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.  I require nonetheless to fix a period, known as the punishment part of the sentence, which must elapse before you can even be considered for parole.  The question of your release will then be for others to determine.  

In fixing the punishment part I have considered the circumstances of the offence, involving as it did a stabbing committed in a public place, and the terms of the background report prepared for this hearing, which places some context on your limited ability to express or demonstrate remorse.  I have also listened carefully to all that has been said on your behalf this morning and your relatively limited record of previous convictions.

In all the circumstances, in respect of charge 2, I impose a sentence of life imprisonment.  I fix the punishment part of that sentence at 16 years.  I will backdate the sentence to 12 February 2021.
In respect of charges 1 and 4 I impose concurrent sentences of 18 months each.  They will necessarily run from the same date as the sentence in respect of charge 2.  "