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HMA v Sarah Blakeway, Jamie Thomson & Gary Thomson


Apr 23, 2024

At the High Court in Glasgow, Gary Thomson, Jamie Thomson and Sarah Blakeway were sentenced for assault and theft. Gary Thomson will serve 5 years and 4 months in prison and 3 years on licence in the community. Jamie Thomson will spend 3 years and 10 months in prison. Blakeway received a community payback order and was ordered to pay compensation.

On sentencing, Lord Matthews told the offenders:

“You pleaded guilty, to varying degrees, to assaulting a wheelchair-bound man in his own home in the early hours of the morning. He uses a wheelchair because he is paralysed from the waist down and he also suffers from a condition in his left eye which affects his vision. As well as assaulting him you stole his dog Keira, which is particularly despicable, and his car. Thankfully, while his car was never recovered, a good hearted person to whom you tried to sell Keira paid you the money in order to get her away from you and returned her to her owner, although she was traumatised by the experience. The complainer’s motor insurers lost out to the tune of £7,200 and the complainer had to reimburse the lady who took Keira from you, costing him £150.

I heard an agreed narrative of events when you pleaded guilty and the versions which you gave to the authors of the Criminal Justice Social Work reports differ from that narrative in a number of respects, particularly in relation to what happened immediately after you arrived at the complainer’s house. I am more concerned, however, with what you did, for which there is no excuse.

You, Sarah Blakeway, assaulted the complainer by repeatedly punching him on the head and body to his injury, namely bruising. Your plea was tendered at the trial diet.

You, Gary Thomson, repeatedly slashed him on the head, face, neck, arms, hand and body with scissors to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and impairment, the details of which I shall come to. You also caused his wheelchair to tip over so that he fell onto the floor. You offered your plea by way of section 76 letter.

You, Jamie Thomson, struck the complainer on the top of the head with a wine bottle, causing a cut. You tendered your plea at the trial diet, when you also pleaded guilty to failing to attend a Preliminary Hearing on 5 May 2023.

The complainer understandably feared for his life and crawled over 100 yards from his house seeking help, leaving a trail of blood. As could be heard on CCTV footage, he repeatedly called for help, which came in the shape of a neighbour who called an ambulance.

At Wishaw General Hospital the cut to his head was found, as were the bruises caused by the punches. His legs and knees were cut and swollen as a result of his dragging himself across the street.

There were also lacerations caused by the scissors. These were to his upper and lower left lip, the left side of his tongue, his right palm, behind his left ear, his left cheek, his left bicep, his right forearm and the left side of his neck. He sustained a mild compression fracture to the middle of his back when he fell out of his wheelchair. Moreover, he suffered a laceration of the nerve in his right index finger, causing numbness. It had to be repaired surgically. The lacerations resulted in permanent scarring and he required assistance with flexing his fingers into his palm. The effects on him, physical, psychological, social and financial have been significant, as was brought out in his Victim Impact Statement.

I have taken account of all of the reports and what has been said on your behalf by your counsel. It is clear that as a result of the differences both in what you did and your records, I will have to distinguish between you in the sentences which I am going to impose.

Gary Thomson, I start with you. You have a bad record. It includes a conviction for attempted murder and robbery in 2005, which resulted in a sentence of detention for 12 years. Since your release from that sentence you have offended on a fairly regular basis, mostly, for theft and road traffic matters, although you have a conviction for assault and robbery in March 2020 and one for assault in January 2022.

You were remanded in custody on 29 June 2022 and have been in custody since. A sentence of 4 months interrupted your remand, so to all intents and purposes the relevant date for backdating your sentence is 29 August 2022. When you committed these offences you were on licence with an unexpired portion, which I am told is about 6 months, but I do not intend to make a return order. In view of the circumstances of this offence, your record and the contents of the report, which assesses you as presenting with a maximum level of risk and need, I intend to impose an extended sentence in order to protect the public from serious harm from you on your release. Were I to make a return order it would have to run from today but, given the time on remand, that would mean that the sentence would either be too short to allow it to be an extended one or it would be longer than I deem proportionate. The sentence, which is a cumulo one, will be in two parts. The first part, known as the custodial term, will be for 5 years and 4 months. It would have been 8 years but for your plea. The second part of the sentence, called the extension period, will be for a period of 3 years. During that period you will be subject to a licence, the conditions of which will be set by the Scottish Ministers. Breach of these conditions may see you returned to custody to serve the whole period of the sentence. It will run from 29 August 2022.

Jamie Thomson, you also have a record but it is much shorter and not in the same league as Gary Thomson’s. The most significant convictions, in 2009 and 2012, involve a number of offences under the Firearms Act relating to air weapons which seem to have resulted in a total of imprisonment for 18 months. You had a promising start in life, gaining good qualifications, and then went off the rails. You are assessed as posing a moderate risk but I cannot ignore the fact that you assaulted the complainer by striking him on the head with a bottle in his own home before participating in the theft and then failing to turn up to court, resulting in your remand in custody on 6 June 2023. Had you not pleaded guilty I would have imposed a cumulo sentence of imprisonment for 4 years and 4 months, the 4 months being attributable to charge 3.  Given your plea, the sentence will be a cumulo one of imprisonment for 46 month, 3 years and 10 months to run from 6 June 2023.

Sarah Blakeway, your record is also a short one but it includes a conviction for assault to injury in 2009, for which you were admonished, and one for assault and robbery involving a child in 2020, which resulted in a Community Payback order and a Restriction of Liberty order. The report on you makes unhappy reading, given the various difficulties which life has thrown at you.  None of these provides any excuse for what you did, and I would have imposed a period of custody on you for these offences, but you have been on remand for the equivalent of a sentence of nearly 44 months.  The author of the report suggests that I might defer sentence on you but I consider that you need some structure and assistance to deal with your various issues so I am proposing to make a Community Payback Order in your case. It will be for a period of 15 months and would have been 18 months but for your plea. It will include a requirement that you pay compensation to the complainer, via the sheriff clerk’s office, of £150.”

23 April 2024