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HMA v James Purves


Jun 13, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh this morning, Lord Tyre sentenced James Purves to 10 years imprisonment. The offender had been found guilty of the rape and sexual abuse of two children. He was also placed in the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.


On sentencing, Lord Tyre said:

“You were convicted by the jury of all of the offences with which you were charged.  These consist of long periods of sustained sexual abuse of complainer A when they were aged between 8 and 13 and complainer B when they were aged between 7 and 10.  The abuse of complainer A included one incident of rape. These two complainers are now adults and described with some eloquence and in detail the horrors that you inflicted upon them when they ought to have been safe in their own home.

I have read the Criminal Justice Social Work Report. You continue to deny having committed any of the offences, and attribute the complainers’ evidence to a family vendetta against you. It is disappointing that even now, at the age of 66 and when faced with the prospect of a lengthy period of imprisonment, you are still unable to accept responsibility for what you did.

In reaching my view as to an appropriate sentence, I begin by characterising your culpability as very high. These were serious offences, deliberately committed over long periods of time, against young girls in relation to whom you were in a position of trust.

You must have known that what you were doing was very wrong and that it was likely to cause long term psychological injury to your victims, as has clearly occurred in the case of complainer B. Rape of a girl aged 12 or 13 who was effectively in your care was a particularly despicable act.

I have listened to what Mr Cloggie has said today. I note that you have no previous convictions that I should take into account. You are now aged 66 and I accept that there is a low risk of you offending again on release from prison. But taking all of these factors together they do little if anything to mitigate the seriousness of the offences of which you have been convicted.

The Crown case was presented as a course of criminal activity, and I regard it as appropriate to pass a single sentence, known as a cumulo sentence, in respect of all four charges. Taking all of the circumstances into account, I sentence you to imprisonment for a period of 10 years, backdated to 5 May 2023 when you were remanded in custody. 

You will remain on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.”

13 June 2023