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HMA v Steven McKee


Sep 7, 2022

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lady Poole sentenced Steven McKee to an Order for Lifelong Restriction after he was convicted of rape and domestic abuse. The punishment part of the sentence was set at a minimum of 4 years’ imprisonment.


On sentencing, Lady Poole said: 

"Steven McKee, you were convicted by the jury at Edinburgh High Court on 3 November 2021 of offences of rape and abusive behaviour. 

Your victim had befriended you because she thought you were lonely. You manoeuvred yourself into her life and her home.  You managed to have sex with her.  You then threatened to reveal it to her partner, family, friends and work colleagues, if she did not continue with you, which she felt would ruin her life.  You subjected her to a course of abusive behaviour over a number of months, during which you collected photographs and messages you could use against her.  You had sex with her on many occasions, and the jury accepted her evidence she was blackmailed into this and did not consent to it.  Eventually she told her partner about you.  You then carried out your threats, and sent messages and intimate photographs of your victim to her partner, and messages to her family and friends.  This was an appalling way to treat your victim.  It caused her extreme distress.  She was subjected to a traumatic ordeal for many months. 

You have concerning previous convictions.  In 2011 you were convicted of attempting to murder a former partner when she sought to end a relationship with you.  The trial judge’s report noted that this was a vicious armed attack by you on the mother of your children in her own home by repeatedly stabbing her on the neck and body with a knife or knives; and that you left her bleeding on the floor with a large kitchen knife still embedded in her neck, transfixing her throat, a millimetre or so away from death.   When you committed your current offences of rape and abusive behaviour, you were still subject to the 14 year extended sentence which had been imposed on you for attempted murder.  You had been released on 24 July 2015 under a licence which included special conditions of engaging in offence focussed work in the area of domestic violence. Despite being under supervision and attending a domestic violence course, you offended again. You also have convictions at Sheriff Court level, for assault, assault to injury, and vandalism.

I have had regard to a criminal justice social work report and a risk assessment report prepared for the court.  The assessor, having investigated, expresses the opinion that you present a high risk.  

I have listened carefully to the submissions of your counsel in mitigation and I have taken into account everything said on your behalf when deciding how to sentence you.  I have taken into account your history of work when at liberty and your medical conditions.  I note you continue to maintain your innocence, but you have been convicted by a jury and I sentence you on that basis. 

I am in no doubt that you are a dangerous man from whom the public must be protected.  A custodial sentence is inevitable.

I deal first of all with the unexpired portion of the sentence already imposed on you by the High Court for attempted murder.  That sentence commenced on 26 July 2010 and was not due to expire until 25 July 2024.  You had been released after serving approximately five years of a 14 year extended sentence.  Given your history, the nature and gravity of the new offending, and similarities in that you offended against women you thought you were in relationships with, I have decided to make a return order.  In setting the length of the period you must serve in prison under that return order, I note that you commenced commission of the present offences on 1 May 2019.  The licence to which you were subject did not expire until 25 July 2024, 1911 days later.  You were recalled to custody on 1 November 2019 and have so far been detained under that order for 1042 days.  I shall make a return order that you serve two years and two months of the sentence to which you are already subject, with effect from today’s date.  The period under the return order will be served before and will be followed by the sentence about to be imposed in respect of the new offences of which the jury convicted you on 3 November 2021.  

I now pass sentence for the new offences.  Charge 1 is a charge of domestic abuse.  There was a significant sexual aspect to your behaviour in committing this offence.  Charge 2 is a charge of rape on multiple occasions over a period of just over 4 months.  I sentence you on a cumulo basis for those offences by making an order for lifelong restriction. Given the nature and circumstances of the crime you committed, your previous offending and all of the information before me, I am satisfied that if you are at liberty you will seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological wellbeing, of members of the public at large. 

The order I have made for lifelong restriction means you will be subject to a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period.  You will only ever be released from prison into the community if the Parole Board can be satisfied that public safety will not be endangered. And even then you will be subject to conditions and liable to be recalled to prison if you break them. For the rest of your life, you will be subject to continuing risk management and close supervision.

I am required by law to fix the punishment part of the order for lifelong restriction.  This is the minimum period which you must serve in prison before the Parole Board can, in the future, even consider your case.  I should explain that this is no more than a minimum period.  It should not be thought by you or anyone that it in any sense reflects my view of when you should be released.  The minimum period I set is 4 years imprisonment.   I will explain how I have calculated this minimum period.  If I had been imposing determinate sentences after trial, I would have imposed a sentence of 11 years for the rape charge, being a custodial part of 8 years and an extension period of 3 years, and a sentence of 2 years imprisonment for the domestic abuse charge to be served concurrently.  I then reduce the 11 year total to 6 years, by removing the element imposed for public protection (stripping out the extension part and part of the custodial part).  Taking into account the early release provisions results in this period of 6 years being reduced by one third, to 4 years.  I stress that this minimum period is a bare minimum which I am obliged by statute to calculate. You are likely to remain in prison for many years and it is a matter for the Parole Board whether and when you may be released after this minimum period.

As I explained when you were convicted, you are now subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and that will be for an indefinite period.  Your name has been added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.  You are also subject to the non-harassment orders already made in the High Court on 18 May 2022."