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HMA v Matthew Adams


Feb 17, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lady Poole sentenced Matthew Adams to 64 months' imprisonment after he pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Wayne Elliot.

On sentencing, Lady Poole said:

"Matthew Adams, you pled guilty under the provisions of Section 76 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 to culpable homicide.

"You killed your friend, Wayne Elliot.  You had both been part of the homeless community in Portsmouth. You travelled from England to Scotland during the Edinburgh Festival in 2022.  When you were both inebriated, an altercation began between you on Princes Street, which was caught on CCTV.  You were shouting and gesticulating at your victim.  You punched your victim once, drew back, then went to punch him again but knocked him over by your shoulder banging into him.  Your victim fell backwards onto the pavement, hitting his head.  The attack happened in broad daylight.  There were passers-by who heard a crack or thud as the back of your victim’s head hit the tarmac, and they came to his aid.   You then left Edinburgh and went travelling elsewhere in Scotland. 

"What you did to Wayne Elliot killed him because he suffered head injuries and died in hospital some time later.   I have read victim impact statements from two family members.  It is clear that Mr Elliot is missed by his family, who have suffered grief and other consequences.

"You are a 38 year old man with an appalling record of previous convictions imposed by the courts in England.  As this appears to be the first time you have been sentenced by the courts in Scotland, I called for a criminal justice social work report.  The report notes that since your first conviction for battery in 2001 you have accrued convictions at least annually, with the only significant gaps being during periods of imprisonment.  You have been sentenced on 34 occasions for about 60 offences.  You have been imprisoned or detained on various occasions, including a term of 3 years for arson and grievous bodily harm, and a term of 2 years for breaches of harassment and non-molestation orders.  Your convictions show a propensity for using violence, including convictions for battery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent, assault and police assault.  The criminal justice social work report also says that you have previously been unwilling to address your offending through offence focussed work.

"I have taken into account everything said on your behalf in mitigation. You have shown some remorse. You pled guilty at an early stage.  I note that you had a difficult upbringing and have no formal qualifications.  You have engaged in some casual employment in the past, and in prison are involved in the catering work party.  You have health problems.  I accept there was a degree of provocation, in that the altercation arose because of antisocial behaviour by your victim, and your victim armed himself with a broken bottle neck and struck out at you. 

"However, you had been drinking and were the principal aggressor.  You were the bigger man.  You have a serious record of previous offending.  The result of the violence you inflicted on this occasion was to end a man’s life.   A conviction for culpable homicide in circumstances such as those in this case must attract a significant prison sentence.

"The sentence I impose is 64 months' imprisonment.   I have reduced this from a headline sentence of 8 years for your guilty plea at an early stage.

"Your sentence will be backdated to 18 August 2022 when you first appeared and bail was refused."