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HMA v Mark Robert Campbell


Jul 20, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lady Poole sentenced Mark Robert Campbell to life imprisonment after he was found guilty of murder, rape, assault and domestic abuse. Campbell will serve at least 27 years before being considered for parole.

Lady Poole said: “Mark Robert Campbell, on 13 June 2023 you were convicted by the jury at Edinburgh High Court of 14 charges.  These included crimes of murder, rape, assault, and domestic abuse.

Your campaign of abuse of women started when you were a teenager.  Your seven victims were all women with whom the jury accepted you had some form of relationship.  Some were mothers of your children.  They deserved your love, respect and kindness.  Instead you brought abuse and misery into their lives.

Your victims were assaulted by you in many ways.  You hit, headbutted, strangled, kicked and spat on women.  You used not only your body to assault women, but also things close to hand that could be used as weapons, such as scissors, an iron, a belt, a hoover, and knives.  Your victims were hurt by you.  Some were severely injured, to the danger of their lives, and some left with permanent markings.  Your victims found it hard to escape you.  One even moved as a teenager with a new baby to a country where, when she arrived, she didn’t speak the language and had no network, to get away from you.

You also sexually abused victims.  The jury found you raped three different women.  Two were raped by you on various occasions over time periods spanning a total of about six years.

Your abuse of women escalated over the years until in 2021, when you were thirty five years old, you murdered your then partner.  Before that, during her eleven month relationship with you, she had been subjected to shocking levels of abuse at your hands.  Messages she sent to you told you she loved you.  In contrast, many messages you sent to her were appallingly cruel.  You even filmed yourself abusing her. 

In August 2021 your victim was admitted to hospital with a head injury.  You induced her to discharge herself, and took her to an area in an industrial estate behind a garage.  She was found dead in your car the next morning.  Her body, head and face were covered with injuries, grouped at post mortem under 75 different entries.  At least 42 of these injuries were fresh, indicating your victim had been subjected to a vicious attack.  Some of the injuries were defensive in nature. Wounds on your victim’s head matched the shape of the head of a tyre wrench found in your car. The cause of death was a blow to the head causing brain injury and your victim’s ultimate demise.  Your car was covered with her blood, and there was blood on the wall of the nearby garage. Your attempts to blame somebody else were rejected by the jury.  The murder you committed was aggravated by it being your partner you killed, and by you being on bail at the time.

As a result of what you have done, all seven of your victims suffered harm.  Those who escaped you have attempted to move on with their lives.  They are to be commended for their courage in giving evidence, and revisiting what happened to them at your hands. Your final victim lost her life.  Her family have been left bereft. Her grandchildren have lost a grandmother who had been a big part of their lives before you appeared on the scene.  I have read moving victim impact statements about the trauma, grief and continuing impact her death has on the lives of her family.

You have previous convictions.  They start when you were 17 years old, and include offences of violence and offences with domestic aggravations.

I have taken into account information in the criminal justice social work report I requested. I note your troubled upbringing, your struggles with alcohol and illicit substances, your health issues, and your history of some work.  I have also taken into account all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation.

Our society will not tolerate domestic abuse against women.  The sentences that courts impose on abusers must reflect that.

There is only one sentence for murder. I sentence you to life imprisonment.  The punishment part I fix is 27 years.  That 27 year period represents the time necessary to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence.  In setting the punishment part I have taken into account your previous convictions.  I have also taken into account the seriousness of the offence of murder combined with the other 13 charges of which you have been convicted in this case.  This does not mean this is a sentence of 27 years.  It means you will serve at least 27 years before you can be considered for release on parole.  Your sentence is life imprisonment.  It will be for the Parole Board to determine whether you will ultimately be released and they will consider the safety of the public in reaching that decision.

On the charges other than murder, I impose a cumulo determinate sentence of 15 years imprisonment, to be served concurrently with the sentence I have already imposed.  If I had been sentencing on these other charges alone, I would have been considering other forms of sentence including an order for lifelong restriction, but because you have been sentenced to life imprisonment it is not necessary for me to do so.

Your sentence is backdated to 6 September 2021, when you were first remanded in custody.

Because of your convictions for rape, you are subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period. Your name has been added to the lists of persons deemed unsuitable to work with vulnerable groups.

I now turn to the issue of non-harassment orders. I make no non-harassment order in respect of the victim in charges 28 and 31.  I am required by law to explain the basis for that decision, which is that there is no need for the victim to be protected by such an order because she is tragically deceased.   I make non-harassment orders in respect of the six victims mentioned in charges 1, 3, 12-15, 17-20, 23, and 25-26, whose details will be specified in the court order.  You must indefinitely refrain from approaching or contacting, or attempting to approach or contact those women, either directly or through others, including by social media.”

20 July 2023