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HMA v Andrew Miller
Oct 18, 2023
On sentencing Lord Arthurson made the following remarks in court:
"Andrew George Miller, on 18 May 2023 at Edinburgh High Court you tendered pleas of guilty to a four charge section 76 indictment, that indictment having at its core the abduction by you on 5 February 2023 from a public street of a young girl who had just turned 11 years of age.
Your victim was unknown to you. You picked her up in your car while dressed in female clothing. You took her to your house where you kept her confined in your bedroom and repeatedly sexually assaulted her. The police sergeant who spoke to the risk assessor in this case advised that the lock on the outside of the bedroom appeared new. The sexual assaults perpetrated by you against your victim included the digital penetration of and licking of her vagina and anus in a variety of positions over a 27 hour period. The narrative of your offending in this case which was read out in court on the occasion of your last appearance was frankly nauseating in its level of depravity and criminal deviance.
Your victim repeatedly asked to be allowed to go home. You told her that you intended to keep her for a week and on another occasion that you were not going to let her leave as she was your “new family”. You intentionally exposed your genitals to her and made her watch pornography and fetish videos. You have also pled guilty to the possession over a 19 year period of multiple indecent images of children of varying levels of gravity, up to and including the anal rape of a young child.
The crime of abduction itself in this case was brazen and chilling. The child was walking home, her mobile phone having run out of battery. You were seen on CCTV footage to turn your car into the opposing carriageway from your original direction of travel, remain stationary behind a wall for just over a minute and then drive off to carry out the abduction, at 1755 hours. Dressed and presenting as a female, you offered the child a lift, drove past the area of her home, took her into your house and removed her phone. You assaulted her on arrival, carried her into the bedroom, removed her lower clothing and immediately commenced her ordeal of deplorable penetrative sexual offending. You made her wear tights, in keeping with your long standing perverted fetishistic interests. You slept in her bed and tried to give her alcohol. Forensic evidence supports the child’s account of your sexual assaults upon her. The risk assessor has described the evidence of those sexual assaults as overwhelming.
The mode of abduction itself is also in my view a significantly aggravating feature, if any were needed in such a case, and here to speak plainly I am referring to your female presentation as you invited your victim into your car. One only has to ask oneself the simple question: would an 11 year old girl have willingly entered your car had you presented as a man? The answer is that obviously she would not. Your intentions were wicked and predatory, and clearly involved a substantial component of planning. Indeed, the mode of abduction utilised by you in my opinion entirely supports that proposition when it is seen in the context of your whole conduct in this matter.
Through a display of remarkable courage and initiative your victim was able, while you slept on the second night of her captivity, to locate a landline and call 999. She had been unable to open the front door, which had of course been locked by you with a key which had been removed. The 999 call was made at 2124 hours on 6 February. At 2135 hours no less than nine police officers arrived to rescue her. She was understandably shaken and crying.
Your account of these events to the police over the ensuing few days is instructive. On your arrest on 6 February you denied the abduction and asserted that you had never been inappropriate with her in any way, apart from sleeping with her in what you described preposterously as a “motherly way”. On 7 and 8 February, in the course of what amounted to a 6 hour interview, you maintained that you had acted as a Good Samaritan; you denied any interest in children or child pornography; you advanced false explanations as to why your DNA might be on the child; you falsely denied being aware that she had been reported missing; you alluded to your victim being sexually active; and, quite extraordinarily, you suggested that the police would know if she had been penetrated by undertaking an intimate examination. As a result of your repeated stated denials the child required to undergo a medical examination by a paediatrician and a forensic physician, which included the taking of various intimate swabs. I will return to these and other matters when I consider in due course the question of discount in this case.
You are 53 years of age. You have to date accrued 10 groups of previous convictions, all at summary level and none analogous to the index offending. You have never before received a custodial or even a community‑based sentence.
A risk assessment report has been made available for this morning’s sentencing hearing. The assessor concludes that the nature, seriousness and pattern of your behaviour indicates a propensity to seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well‑being, of the public at large, and that you have characteristics which are persistent and pervasive. That having been said, the author is of the view that these characteristics may be amenable to change; that there is some evidence of protective factors; that you have the capacity and willingness to engage in appropriate intervention; and that measures short of lifelong restriction may be sufficient to minimise the risk of serious harm to others. In terms of the Risk Management Authority’s definitions of risk the author concludes that your risk level is medium and that you do not meet the threshold for high risk as so defined.
There are nevertheless other features of note in this report. Your primary focus when considering the impact of your offending in this case has been yourself. Over time, the author reports, you were able to articulate a wider understanding of this impact, including to some, but in my view only a very limited, degree in respect of your victim. I note that you are recorded by the risk assessor as talking in detail about your desire to limit the impact of your offending on what is referred to as the wider trans community. By way of contrast, however, the assessor reports that, during her discussions with you, you appeared to deflect from the harm your sexual assaults have caused to your victim. You denied that any harm had come to her during her days as your captive, and, while you used the term “inappropriate”, you avoided the use of the word “harm”. You even appeared to place the responsibility for your offending onto your victim. On a number of occasions the risk assessor reports that you referred to the abduction as a “game”. In terms, however, of the ending of the abduction, you told the reporter that you “went into business mode trying to think of a solution”, and that you needed time to formulate your “plan”. Thankfully your victim took that matter out of your hands, by way of her call to the emergency services. In the risk assessment report the author posits a future risk scenario in similar circumstances. The author expresses the view that while she doubted that fatal harm would be your initial intent, this could become a more likely occurrence with a prolonged abduction in circumstances in which the child in such a future scenario, just as in the present case, would be readily able to identify you in the event of her being released or making an escape.
I have listened with considerable care to the submissions advanced this morning in mitigation by your counsel on your behalf. In particular I note what has been said regarding the terms of the risk assessment report and the range of disposals available to the court today. I also note what your counsel has said concerning your own recognition of the horror of your criminal behaviour in this case and the shame that you have reportedly expressed.
Turning now to disposal, whilst undoubtedly competent, I have with some hesitation reached the view that, in the light of the statutory framework and in particular the specific terms of the risk assessment report itself, I will not pronounce an Order for Lifelong Restriction today. It is nevertheless abundantly plain that the gravity of offending in your case requires the imposition of a very high tariff custodial sentence. On the basis of the available risk assessment material and the nature of your crimes, it is further clear that the normal period of licence would not be adequate to protect the public from serious harm from you when you are in due course released. I propose therefore today imposing upon you an extended sentence. This sentence will be in two parts. The first part will be custodial. The second part will take the form of an extension period when you will be under supervision while on licence in the community. The conditions of your licence will be set by Scottish Ministers. If you fail to comply with these conditions during the extension period your licence will be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this indictment. The court also has power to deal with you if you commit a further offence after your release from the custodial part of this sentence while you are on licence and under supervision.
The abduction of young children from the streets of our cities, towns and villages for the purpose of their sexual torment over a prolonged period by a captor is mercifully rare in this jurisdiction. It is a uniquely appalling crime, striking as it does at the heart of family life and indeed the very fabric of our society. It is a crime that brings justifiable universal opprobrium upon the offender and which rightly merits the severest level of punishment properly available to our courts. It is what the public has every right to expect, and today it is what you shall receive. The suffering of your victim and her family at your hands has been incalculable and life‑changing. The trauma further inflicted by you upon her local community and the wider public is also immeasurable.
In these whole circumstances I now therefore sentence you as follows. On charges 1, 2, 3 and 4 on this indictment, on an in cumulo basis, I am imposing an extended sentence. In view of the exceptional gravity of your crimes I have selected a headline custodial part tariff of 22 years.
Standing (i) the overwhelming evidence against you, (ii) the courageous actions taken by your victim while in your custody which led to your red handed discovery by police officers, (iii) your victim‑blaming and your denials of abduction and in particular your denials of your sexual offending, which led to an unnecessary and re‑traumatising intimate medical examination of your victim, and (iv) the overarching sentencing requirement that condign punishment be imposed by the court in cases of this gravity, I have decided in the exercise of my discretion to restrict considerably the discount that you might have expected to receive for your early plea in respect of the custodial part of this disposal.
You will accordingly serve an extended sentence of 28 years duration. The custodial part will comprise a period of 20 years. The extension period will be one of 8 years. This sentence will be backdated to the date of your initial remand into custody in this case, namely to 9 February 2023.
Finally, as a result of this disposal you will henceforth be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period."
18 October 2023