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HMA v Amy Beck


Apr 10, 2024

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Judge Fiona Tait sentenced Amy Beck to seven years imprisonment after the offender was convicted of being concerned in the supply of Mephedrone a class B drug over a three year period) and three charges of wilfully exposing children to controlled drugs in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to their health.

On sentencing Judge Fiona Tait made the following remarks in court:

"Amy Beck, on 5 March 2024, at the High Court at Aberdeen you were convicted of charge 1 (a charge of being concerned in the supply of Mephedrone a class B drug over a three year period) and three charges of wilfully exposing your  children to controlled drugs in a manner likely to cause unnecessary suffering or injury to their health.

In terms of charge 4, you were convicted of exposing your three month old son to Mephedrone and to MDMA. As a consequence of which he ingested the drugs and as a result of his ingestion of Mephedrone, combined with the effects of peritonitis, your infant son died on 22 December 2019. 

You are aged 32. You have no previous convictions.   

The author of the risk assessment prepared for today’s hearing assesses that you present with a medium level of risk and need in relation to general offending.

It is noted that you have experienced a significant level of trauma and adversity in your own life and that has been further impacted by the death of your infant son. Following upon these offences and the resultant involvement of substance misuse services and children and families services, you report having made considerable changes to your life. At the date of trial, you were caring for your older children and a child born after the date of these offences. I acknowledge the impact of your conviction and subsequent remand on your young children.

However, it is apparent from the criminal justice social work report that you minimise your role in these offences and have limited understanding of the negative impact of drug use and supply within communities.

I have listened carefully to what Mr Moggach has said on your behalf this morning and take all of the points advanced in mitigation into account in determining a suitable sentence in your case. I have given careful consideration to the criminal justice social work report and risk assessment.

I am mindful that you did not intend to harm any of your children nor that your infant son die. However, as a drug dealer and a drug user, you allowed drugs and other drug users to be in close proximity to your children and therefore exposed the three children to the risk of significant harm to their health. In the case of your infant son, the ingestion of Mephedrone combined with the effects of peritonitis resulted in his death.

Accordingly, because of the gravity of the charges, individually and in accumulation, a custodial sentence is the only appropriate disposal in your case.

Turning then to disposal, you will serve in relation to charge 1 a period of three years’ imprisonment and in relation to charges 2, 3 and 4 in cumulo (that is taken together) a period of seven years’ imprisonment. These periods of imprisonment on charge 1 and on charges 2, 3 and 4 will be concurrent. The period of seven years’ imprisonment will be backdated to 5 March 2024, being the date of your remand in custody.

I have given careful consideration to whether an extended sentence was indicated but having regard to the terms of the available reports, I am not satisfied that the statutory test for an extended sentence has been met."

10 April 2024.