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HMA v Michael Barry Reddington


Jun 22, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Arthurson sentenced Michael Barry Reddington to 7 years imprisonment after the offender pled guilty to culpable and reckless conduct towards five people. Reddington was also banned from driving for life.

On sentencing, Lord Arthurson said:

“Michael Barry Reddington, you have this morning tendered a plea of guilty by way of accelerated section 76 procedure to a single charge of culpable and reckless conduct to the danger of the lives of five members of one family, including three young children.

On the night of 8 February 2023 you drove a stolen large saloon vehicle into the garage door of a house in Lochgelly, when the family living there were all sleeping.  You got out of the car and proceeded to pour petrol from a green fuel canister inside the vehicle and then to ignite the poured fuel, thereby causing an immediate explosion in the vehicle which resulted in a large fire.  You thereafter fled the scene of your crime.  The fire continued to develop to such an extent that it set alight the timber frame of the garage.  The householder required to drive his own vehicle out of the garage through a closed garage door in order to move the burning vehicle away from his house.  Both the police and fire service attended the scene. The footage of the incident that I have viewed this morning is both dramatic and highly disturbing.

You are aged 38 and have a lengthy record of convictions at sheriff court summary level.  To date you have accrued 20 groups of previous convictions and have served 4 custodial sentences.

I have listened with care to the submissions advanced by your counsel in mitigation on your behalf this morning and note in particular what has been said in respect of the timing of your plea of guilty, the progress you have made in custody in respect of your addiction issues, your expressed regret and remorse and your family and employment circumstances generally.

The Crown has accepted a plea to the charge libelled on the present indictment.  I will of course require to sentence you on that basis.  But it appears to me that your criminal conduct on 8 February was at the very highest end of the spectrum of conduct which can be characterised as culpable and reckless.  The agreed narrative tells me in terms that a considerable amount of planning was involved in this crime. Indeed, your criminal conduct that night could quite easily have resulted in the deaths of some or indeed all of the family of five, including three young children, who were then asleep in the house.  This was cowardly and despicable offending which on any view merits the imposition of a very substantial custodial sentence.

Turning finally to disposal, you will serve on this indictment a sentence of imprisonment of 7 years, discounted from a period of 10 years due to the utilitarian timing of your accelerated guilty plea.  This sentence will be backdated to the date of your initial remand into custody in this case, namely to 10 February 2023.  In addition, on the basis that you used and in particular drove a vehicle to commit this crime, I now disqualify you from holding or obtaining a driving licence for life.”

22 June 2023