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HMA v Bradley Isherwood


Aug 29, 2023

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Tyre sentenced Bradley Isherwood to an extended sentence of 13 years, which includes a custodial period of 10 years. Isherwood had been found guilty of rape and sexual assaults against two women and a 14-year-old girl. He has been placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.

On sentencing, Lord Tyre told Isherwood:

“By the verdict of the jury you were convicted of ten charges.  Three of these charges related to a woman when you were aged about 18 or 19.  Four of the charges related to a woman for a longer period of time between about 2017 and 2021 when you were aged between 19 and 23.  The remaining charges related to a girl whom you raped on two separate occasions while she was aged 14.

The evidence we heard at the trial was a shocking catalogue of violent and controlling behaviour directed against your two partners, including frequent sexual violence when you insisted on getting your way when they had made clear that they did not want to have sex with you.  Although the sexual assaults were separated from your other violent behaviour in the charges, and for technical legal reasons had to be considered separately by the jury when they were considering whether there was sufficient evidence to convict you, for my part I regard the sexual and violent offences as part of a single course of conduct in which you imposed your control and your demands upon your partners and upon the 14 year old girl.  As the social worker puts it in his report, you appear to hold your partners accountable for managing your emotions and meeting your needs, leading to abusive behaviour if they fail to satisfy your expectations.  These attitudes are wholly unacceptable.  You clearly present a severe risk to women and will need to address your attitudes through domestic abuse and sexual offending programmes while you are serving your prison sentence.

You already have a lengthy record of previous convictions, including some for violent offending and a large number for breaching the conditions of community payback orders which is another indication of your inability to accept responsibility for your own behaviour.  I take these convictions into account but they are of limited significance when weighed against the much more serious offences of which you have now been convicted.

The social worker suggests that I may wish to consider imposing an Order for Lifelong Restriction, in terms of which you would remain in prison until it was considered safe to release you.  I have given some thought to this option but in the end I have concluded, having regard to your relatively young age and to the considerations outlined by Mr Duguid this morning, that it is unnecessary for me to go so far.  I do however regard it as necessary to make some provision for protection of the public after your release.

I intend therefore to impose an extended sentence which falls into two parts.  The first part is called the custodial term and it sets the period which you should spend in prison.  In deciding upon that period, I have had regard to the Scottish Sentencing Council’s guideline on sentencing young people.  The guideline makes clear that in assessing culpability, I should have regard to the fact that due to intellectual and emotional maturity a young person is generally less able to exercise good judgement when making decisions, may be less able to think about what could happen as a result of their actions, including the impact on the victim, and may have greater potential to change than an older person.  To reflect this, the sentence imposed on a young person should be lower than the sentence that would be imposed on an older person for the same offence.  You were aged between 18 and 24 when the offences were committed and the sentence that I am about to impose is intended to follow this guideline.  I have already said that I regard the offences of which you were convicted as a single course of persistent violent abusive conduct, some of which consisted of sexual assaults including rape.  I consider it appropriate to impose a single sentence, known as a cumulo sentence, for all 10 offences together.  Having regard to your age, I sentence you to imprisonment in respect of all of the charges for a period of 10 years.  Had you been an adult when you offended, the sentence would have been longer. 

The second part of the extended sentence is called the extension period, during which you will be released on licence on conditions which will be fixed at that time by the Scottish Ministers.  Should you breach those conditions or commit another offence, you may be returned to prison in respect of the current matters.  This would be over and above any punishment for a new offence.  I consider that the need to protect the public, including in particular any future partners, from you requires me to fix the extension period at 3 years.  The total extended sentence that I am imposing is therefore a period of 13 years.

That sentence is backdated to 3 November 2021 when you were remanded in custody.

You will also remain on the Sex Offenders’ Register for an indefinite period.

It is no easy thing to admit guilt of serious sexual offending.  But you will have to admit it at least to yourself before you will be ready to undertake the courses that will be available to you in prison to enable you to return to the community without presenting a danger to women whom you meet.  You will also have opportunities to pursue Open University courses and, I hope, succeed in turning your life around.”

29 August 2023