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When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.
Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.
HMA v Connor Gibson and Stephen Corrigan
Sep 4, 2023
Lord Mulholland told Gibson:
“Connor Gibson, you have been convicted of the physical and sexual assault and murder of your younger sister Amber Niven, as she liked to be known. Like you she had not had the best start in life, being fostered and then residing in a children’s home. She also had to deal with having been raped. She would have looked to you, as her big brother, for support. She was looking forward to meeting up with you on the night she was murdered. She even posted a selfie of both of you on Snapchat. You walked with her to Cadzow Glen. There you beat her about the head, breaking her nose, removed her clothing and sexually assaulted her with intent to rape, and then manually strangled her to death. The last person she saw alive was you, her brother, strangling the life out of her after having beaten her up and tried to rape her. What you did was truly evil.
You then tried to cover your tracks. You lied to the staff of both children’s homes. You repeatedly lied to the police. You tried to dispose of your bloodstained clothing. You lied that you had fallen at the Hamilton Accies football stadium. All your lies were exposed by the CCTV and the forensic science, who spoke for your sister. The science told the world what you had done.
In sentencing you, I take into account your age, your difficult background, everything that has been said on your behalf, your background report, your lack of criminal record and, of course, the circumstances of your appalling crimes.
I hereby sentence you to life imprisonment.
The law requires me to impose a punishment part, which is the period of time you will serve before being eligible to apply for parole. I stress, apply for parole, as you will only ever be released if you are deemed to pose no risk to the public. The decision on whether to release you will be one for the parole board alone to take.
I will impose a punishment part of 22 years’ imprisonment.
I order that the sentence should run from 3 December 2021, the date you were first ordered into custody by the court for these matters.
I will apportion 3 months’ imprisonment of the punishment part for the bail aggravation.”
Lord Mulholland told Corrigan:
“Stephen Corrigan, any decent human being on coming across the naked body of a young girl who was unconscious or possibly dead, would immediately call the emergency services. You on the other hand did not do so. Instead, you touched her sexually on her buttocks, thighs, breasts, pubic area and elsewhere on her head and body. You then moved her body and clothing, concealing it under bushes and branches.
Again, forensic science gave a voice to Amber Niven. Your DNA was found all over her naked body, from head to toe, back and front. In quantities greater than the host Amber Niven. In 39 different places including her breasts, buttocks, pubic area and perineum, these areas being areas where if she was alive would give rise to a charge of sexual assault. In places and quantities that were consistent with primary transfer.
Your despicable conduct in concealing her body under bushes and branches, delayed the discovery of her body and had the potential to alter and destroy evidence. It hindered and delayed the police from conducting an investigation into her death, to bring Connor Gibson to justice.
In sentencing you, I take into account everything that has been said on your behalf, your background report, your criminal record, which I pay little attention to given its summary contents, and, of course, the circumstances of your appalling crimes.
I hereby sentence you to a cumulo sentence of nine years’ imprisonment.
As you were on remand awaiting trial and sentence for a total of one year, one month and twenty three days, I will order that the sentence should run from 12 July 2022 which takes account of the period spent by you on remand.”
04 September 2023