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Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Matthew George and John Muldoon
Jan 13, 2023
On sentencing Lady Drummond made the following statement in court:
You have been convicted by this jury of 39 charges of physical and sexual abuse of 22 children in your care at Kerelaw School. You committed these offences over a period of 25 years from 1975 to 2000 when you were in your late twenties through to the age of 51 years.
You were an art teacher at Kerelaw School, a residential school in Glasgow. You sometimes assisted in the units where children resided. You physically and sexually abused children within classrooms, in the residential units, at your home address and elsewhere.
You were convicted of 11 charges of physical abuse of children involving threatening, hitting, punching and kicking them, seizing them by the neck and hitting them with objects. You lined children up and struck them with golf balls.
You were convicted of 28 charges of sexual abuse against 17 children. The sexual abuse involved making sexualised remarks, repeatedly forcing children to masturbate you, masturbating in their presence, repeatedly forcing your penis into their mouths, repeatedly handling their genitals and repeatedly anally penetrating them. On one occasion you induced 3 other men to penetrate the mouth and anus of a child and recorded their activity. About half of the sexual charges involve penetration of some kind.
You have a record which shows that in 2006 you were imprisoned by the High Court for 10 years for crimes of the same nature involving 10 other pupils. You were convicted of 10 charges of assault to injury and 6 charges of a sexual nature. These offences were committed by you at Kerelaw School over the same time period as the offences before this Court today.
These young people were some of the most vulnerable in society. They were placed at Kerelaw School to be protected and looked after. As a teacher your role was to educate and guide them but you flagrantly abused your position of trust for your own gratification. You took advantage of your position and your power within the organisation to bully, groom, manipulate and physically and sexually violate vulnerable children who were too ashamed and frightened to speak out. I have taken into account the victim impact statements from the people you abused. The trauma they suffered at your hands compounded what had already been a difficult start to their lives. They describe how your behaviour destroyed their childhoods and had a devastating impact on their adult lives. They have suffered profound, lifelong impacts, physically, emotionally and psychologically.
I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf by Mr McConnachie and the contents of the criminal justice and social work report. You are now aged 73 years. You have a supportive family. You have various health complaints for which you take medication.
You deny all responsibility for these offences as described by 22 different pupils named on this indictment. You have displayed no remorse, no empathy or insight towards any of them.
Turning to the question of public protection, you have been assessed by the social worker as presenting a minimum risk in relation to general offending and a medium risk of reconviction for sexual offending.
Having regard to the gravity, and persistent and predatory nature of the offences of which you have been convicted, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate one.
In determining the length of sentence I have taken into account that you have already served a 10 year prison sentence from 2006. I have taken into account what sentence might have been imposed by the Court had these matters been tried at the same time as those in 2006. I have considered the totality of your sentence. I have also taken into account the length of time it has taken to bring this to trial.
In all the circumstances I impose a sentence of 16 years imprisonment on all charges backdated to 2 December 2022 when you were first on remand.
You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for an indefinite period, and your name will be added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.
You have been convicted of 16 charges involving physical and sexual abuse of vulnerable children in your care at Kerelaw School. You committed these offences over a period of 19 years when you were aged between 32 and 51 years. You committed these offences against 10 pupils.
You were convicted of 9 charges of physical abuse. That involved punching and kicking children on the body to their injury, seizing and compressing their necks and twisting pupils arms up their backs, forcing them to strip naked, hitting them on the face and body with implements, applying pressure to parts of their body and burning them on the body with cigarettes.
7 of the charges relate to sexual offending against 5 different children. Your offending involved sexual touching, making sexualised remarks, repeated oral penetration, and indecent assaults. You repeatedly raped one pupil over a period of almost 2 years. You repeatedly raped another pupil on what she described at one stage as a weekly basis over an 8 month period.
You were a care worker within the residential units, described by witnesses as authoritarian and strict. You took advantage of your position within the residential units and abused the trust and power placed upon you to physically and sexually violate children at Kerelaw School. They were amongst the most vulnerable people in society and had been placed at the school for their safety and protection.
You were convicted in 2006 of 4 sexual offences against other pupils of Kerelaw and sentenced to two and a half years in prison.
I have taken into account the victim impact statements from the pupils who you subjected to abuse. Your behaviour has resulted in their physical, emotional and psychological suffering and has had long lasting effects on them.
I have carefully considered all that has been said on your behalf by Mr Wallace and the contents of the criminal justice and social work report. You are now aged 69 years and retired. You have the support of your family. You accept no responsibility for your offending and show no remorse.
You have been assessed by the social worker as presenting a low risk of further offending. The risk of reconviction for sexual offences is assessed as medium.
Having regard to the gravity of the offences of which you have been convicted, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal.
In determining the length of sentence I have taken into account that you have already served a 2 and a half year prison sentence from 2006. I have taken into account what overall sentence might have been imposed by the Court had the matters before me been tried at the same time as those in 2006. I have considered the totality of your sentences. I have also taken into account the length of time it has taken to bring this to trial.
In all the circumstances I impose a sentence of 12 years imprisonment on all charges backdated to 2 December 2022 when you were first on remand.
You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for an indefinite period, and your name will be added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups."
13 January 2023