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HMA v Gary Meikle


Sep 29, 2023

At the High Court in Glasgow, Lord Young sentenced Gary Meikle to life imprisonment for the murder of Charles Wilson and attempting to defeat the ends of justice. Meikle must serve a minimum of 19 years and 6 months in prison before being considered for parole.

On sentencing, Lord Young said:

"Gary Meikle, you have pled guilty to a charge of murdering Charles Wilson and to a further charge of attempting to defeat the ends of justice.         

The agreed narrative contains no indication why you attacked Charles Wilson in the early hours of 25 March 2023 in his own home. Mr Allan told me that you have no explanation for, or recollection of, that night.

Charles Wilson was someone you knew as an acquaintance through your drug taking. By all accounts he was a man who was vulnerable on account of his poor physical and mental health and his own addiction to drugs. I am grateful that his family have provided me with a Victim Impact Statement which gives me an insight into a man – a man with flaws like all of us - but a much loved and loving family member.

The level of violence you inflicted on Mr Wilson was grotesque. His injuries were such that his family were prevented from seeing his body and saying their goodbyes. The forensic examination shows that you manually compressed his throat; stabbed him at least 54 times with a knife on his head, neck and chest; and struck his head approximately 8 times using an axe. You mutilated his private parts. After murdering him, you tried to destroy evidence by removing fire detectors from his flat; barricaded the door into the flat to obstruct emergency services; locked the front door; and then set fire to his flat before escaping through a window. You may have been heavily intoxicated but there was a sense of purpose exhibited by those actions. Fortunately, the fire was identified by a passer-by who alerted the occupants of the other flats within the block. Had that not been done, you might have been facing criminal charges for the deaths or injuries of others. 

I have had regard to everything said on your behalf by Mr Allan and take all of his submissions into account. I have also had regard to your previous convictions. You have a large number of previous convictions, some for assaults and some for wilful fire-raising, but none of your previous convictions even hint at you progressing to committing a crime of this savagery.

In relation to charge 2, you set fire to the flat in order to destroy evidence of your crime. On that charge, I sentence you to 32 months imprisonment which sentence will run concurrently with the sentence which I am about to impose on charge 1. But for your plea of guilty at this early stage in proceedings, the sentence for charge 2 would have been one of 4 years imprisonment.

In relation to charge 1, the sentence for murder is fixed by law, a sentence of life imprisonment. However, in imposing that sentence I have to specify a period known as the punishment part of your sentence. But I must make it clear to you that this does not mean that you will be released automatically at the end of that period; it simply means that until that period has elapsed you cannot ask to be considered for parole. Even after the end of the punishment period, your date of release will depend on the view that the Parole Board takes of the risk which you pose to public safety.

Having regard to the gravity of this crime and all of your personal circumstances, I sentence you to imprisonment for life, and I fix the punishment part at 19 years and 6 months. That punishment part is calculated as follows. The starting point is that I would have selected a punishment part of 21 years for charge 1 standing alone. I have then increased the punishment part by a further 2 years to 23 years to reflect both the retribution & deterrence aspects of charge 2 and the early release provisions if charge 2 had stood alone. Thereafter, I accept that your plea of guilty at this early stage has some utilitarian value and I have reduced the punishment part from 23 years to 19 years and 6 months.

Your sentence will be backdated to 3 April 2023 when you were first remanded into custody.”

29 September 2023