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HMA v Steffan Cox


Dec 13, 2023

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Young sentenced Steffan Cox to 12 years and 9 months in prison, with a further 3 year extension period on licence in the community. The offender had been convicted of three charges of rape and other sexual offences. He will be subject to the notification requirements of the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely and is also subject to non-harassment orders.

On sentencing, Lord Young said: 

"Steffan Cox, you have been convicted of a number of sexual crimes against young woman. The most serious crimes are three charges of rape, two of which also including sexual assaults of the complainers. You were found guilty of a separate charge of repeated sexual assaults against a fourth complainer. You were also convicted of 15 charges of making unwanted verbal sexual communications to 15 woman. Many of these women were identified by you through their Instagram accounts and by reference to what they were wearing in their photos. These phone calls included threats of rape to a large number of your victims. One of the recipients of your phone calls was aged just 15 at the time. You told another woman that you would rape her so that her son could hear her screaming. It is not difficult to imagine just how terrifying the calls must have been to these women. Finally, you were convicted of having possession of extreme pornographic material including images of rape, and of sending an intimate video of you and a previous partner to two woman.

I have had the opportunity to read Victim Impact Statements from two of your victims. What emerges from those statements is just how much harm has been caused to those two woman and it is a reasonable assumption that your other victims will have been likewise affected.

After conviction, the Crown moved for a risk assessment order to determine whether an order for lifelong restriction ought to be imposed on you. I preferred a staged process of obtaining a CJSWR with a view to seeing whether a risk assessment order ought then to be instructed. Having now considered the CJSWR and the submissions from Mr Allan, I have decided not to seek a further risk assessment but will proceed to sentence you today. I do so for two main reasons. In the first place, it seems to me that I am able to adequately protect the public by way of an extended sentence which I shall shortly explain to you. While the CJSWR notes the possibility of a further risk assessment, it does not strongly recommend one. Secondly, you are still a young man with one analogous previous conviction and I consider that you ought to be given an opportunity to demonstrate that you can return to society after rehabilitation without the ultimate sanction of an order for lifelong restriction being imposed. But you should be left in no doubt, that if your sexual offending cannot be curtailed by the sentence which I imposed today, a future court may well view an order for lifelong restriction as the inevitable next step. 

I have had regard to the CJSWR and to all the submissions made by Mr Allan. However, what cannot be ignored is that you have exhibited escalating and compulsive sexual offending. Your previous conviction in 2017 involved making sexually violent calls to two teenagers, but that conviction has not caused you to change your behaviour. Indeed, quite the reverse. You clearly have an obsessive and highly dangerous interest in rape. On one risk assessment for sexual re-offending, you are assessed as presenting a high risk, and on another risk assessment you are at the upper end of moderate risk. You have told the author of the CJSWR that you are keen to engage in programmed work in custody and I hope that that expression is genuine. The fact that you continue to deny responsibility for the most serious offences in this case does cause me some doubt whether your engagement in rehabilitation will be more than superficial, as it was with the supervision aspects of the community payback order between 2017 and 2020. Whether or not you do properly engage in rehabilitation, it is absolutely clear to me that post-release supervision is necessary to protect the public.

Turning now to the various charges.

In respect of charge 3, which is a contravention of section 2(1) of the Abusive Behaviour and Sexual Harm (Scotland) Act, I impose a sentence of 6 months for sending the explicit video on two occasions in July 2021. I should make clear that I have not increased that sentence on account of the domestic aggravation as the aggravation is identical to the essential element of the substantive charge.

In respect of charges 7 and 11-24 which are contraventions of sections 7 and 34(1) of the 2009 Act by sending sexual verbal communications to 15 different complainers, I sentence you to 3 years and 9 months on a cumulo basis. That sentence would have been 5 years but for the fact that you pled guilty to charges 11-24 at the procedural hearing and offered to plead guilty to charge 7 at that time.

In respect of charge 25 which relates to the possession of extreme pornographic material, I sentence you to 6 months imprisonment. That sentence would have been 8 months but for the fact that you did offer to plead guilty to that charge at the procedural hearing but the Crown declined to accept the plea at that stage.

In respect of charges 1, 2, 4 & 10, those are the 3 charges of rape and the charges of sexual assaults, I shall impose a cumulo sentence for these charges. It will be an extended sentence. That sentence is in two parts. The first part of the sentence is the period of imprisonment. The second part is the extension part when you will be on licence and under supervision in the community. You need to understand that when you are serving the extended period in the community, you will be subject to licence conditions fixed by the Scottish Ministers. If during the extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this indictment.

I sentence you on these 4 charges to an extended sentence of 13 years comprising a period of imprisonment of 9 years and an extension period of 4 years. In relation to the period of imprisonment, 6 months of that period is attributed to the domestic aggravations in charges 2 & 10.

Having regard to the totality principle when imposing sentences for a series of crimes, I have decided that the sentences for charges 3 and 25 should run concurrent to the sentence of 3 years 9 months, but that the extended sentence of 13 years will run consecutive to the sentence of 3 years, 9 months. The practical effect of that will be that you are sentenced to a total custodial period of 12 years and 9 months with a 4 year extension period.

The sentences (other than the extended sentence) are backdated to 10th February 2022 when you were first remanded in custody.

As a result of your conviction, you are subject to the notification requirements in the Sexual Offences Act 2003. Given the sentence just imposed, you are subject to those notification requirements under Part 2 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.

I also impose non-harassment orders on you. There is a statutory presumption in favour of the imposition of non-harassment orders for the complainers in charges 2, 3 & 10. In addition, your offences in charges 7 and 11-24 demonstrate the worst form of sexual harassment. All of your victims deserve to be protected from you. I therefore make orders that you must refrain from approaching or contacting, or attempting to approach or contact the complainers identified in charges 1-24 for a period of 20 years."