A judge may decide to publish a statement after passing sentence on an offender in cases where there is particular public interest; where a case has legal significance; or where providing the reasons for the decision might assist public understanding.

Please note that statements may include graphic details of offences when it is necessary to fully explain the reasons behind a sentencing decision.  

Follow us if you wish to receive alerts as soon as statements are published. 

Once charges are spent, any statement in relation to them is removed and cannot be provided or acknowledged. Statements published before the launch of the website may be available on request. Please email

The independence of the judiciary is essential to safeguard people’s rights under law - enabling judges to make decisions impartially based solely on evidence and law, without interference or influence from the government or politicians.

When deciding a sentence, a judge must deal with the offence that the offender has been convicted of, taking into account the unique circumstances of each particular case. The judge will carefully consider the facts that are presented to the Court by both the prosecution and by the defence.

For more information about how judges decide sentences; what sentences are available; and matters such as temporary release, see the independent Scottish Sentencing Council website.

Read more about victims of crime and sentencing.

Read more about civil judgments.

HMA v Mark James Connor & Stewart John Muircroft


Jul 3, 2024

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Arthurson sentenced Mark Connor and Stewart Muircroft to life imprisonment for the murder of Alan West. Both must serve a minimum period of 20 years in prison before being considered for release.

On sentencing, Lord Arthurson said:

“Mark James Connor and Stewart John Muircroft, you have today been convicted by a jury of the gravest crime known to the law of Scotland, namely the crime of murder.

The jury has found that you assaulted and murdered Mr Alan West, a 67-year-old vulnerable man, within his own home at Bowhouse Road, Grangemouth, on 21 & 22 August 2022.  You used various household items to quite literally beat Mr West to death, including a mug, a washing machine door, a hoover, a flat screen TV, a portable TV, a coffee table, poles and a glass panel.  Mr West died due to the complications of blunt force head and chest injuries.  The sheer scale and severity of this concerted, utterly brutal and murderous attack can only be properly understood in the light of the injuries inflicted by you upon him.

Before I turn to consider these injuries in any detail, I wish to acknowledge that members of Mr West’s family have been sitting in court throughout each day of the trial, enduring with, if I may say so, considerable dignity and grace, the grim and often highly disturbing evidence necessarily led by the Crown. I should add that this morning I have had the opportunity to read a most eloquent and powerful impact statement prepared by Mr West’s daughter.

Mr West sustained severe injuries to his head and face, with numerous fractures associated with mild brain injury, and an indication of a survival time of a few hours and a possible loss of consciousness.  These injuries would in turn have been associated with profuse external and internal bleeding, occasioning a heightened degree of respiratory compromise and possible pneumonia and shock.  The consultant forensic pathologist who gave evidence described 27 injuries or collections of injuries on Mr West’s head.  There were additional injuries to the trunk, legs and left arm.  In total there were some 70 external injuries noted, 3 or 4 of these being categorised as older injuries.  Within the skull some 4 interconnected fractures were identified, including a curved depressed complete skull fracture and another depressed fracture.  In addition Mr West sustained the following injuries:  the fracturing of the left eye socket, extensive fracturing of nasal bones and fractures to the left side of the upper jaw, together with 6 rib fractures and an apparently collapsed lung.

It was accepted by one of your senior counsel in his address to the jury that Mr West met a painful and violent death.  I would respectfully suggest that the shocking reality of your attack upon your victim encapsulated a level of violence far more extreme than that description conveys.  Evidence was led indicating that you had consumed alcohol and crack cocaine prior to the murder.  That may well explain the sheer savagery of your conduct that night.

Mark Connor, you are aged 51 and have to date accrued 42 groups of previous convictions and received 19 custodial sentences.  Your most significant conviction relates to an assault and robbery on sheriff court indictment in 1995 in respect of which you were sentenced to 3 years imprisonment. Any subsequent relevant convictions for violence have been dealt with by way of community disposal.

Stewart Muircroft, you are aged 43 and have to date accrued 21 groups of previous convictions and received two custodial sentences, the first in 2021.  In 2004 you were convicted of the possession of a bladed weapon. You have no prior convictions on indictment. An approximate nine year gap in your offending disclosed in your record relates, your senior counsel has advised, to a sustained period of employment and family responsibilities.

I have listened carefully to the submissions of your respective senior counsel advanced on your behalf in mitigation, and note in particular what has been said regarding your respective criminal records and personal circumstances.

The sentence for the crime of murder is fixed by law and is one of imprisonment for life.  The court requires as part of the sentencing exercise in such cases to select a period known as the punishment part of that fixed disposal.  The punishment part is the number of years which you must serve before you can be considered for release on life licence.  You must understand that when the court sets such a tariff it is not in any sense appointing the time when you will be released;  instead, the court is, in so doing, fixing the number of years which must be served by you before you can actually apply for release.  The punishment part does not take into account the need for public protection.  That important matter is taken into account by the Parole Board for Scotland if and when any application is made by you in due course for your release.  The punishment part does, however, take into account the sentencing requirements of retribution and deterrence.

In selecting appropriate punishment parts in this case I take principally, indeed almost exclusively, into account the gravity of the crime of murder libelled in charge one on this indictment, together with, although to a very much lesser degree, your respective criminal antecedents.  As I have reflected on the whole circumstances of this truly appalling crime, I have determined to make no distinction between you in respect of the punishment part to be imposed in this case.

Turning now therefore to disposal, on charge one on this indictment I now pass upon each of you a sentence of imprisonment for life.  I fix the punishment part in each of these disposals at a period of 20 years.  These sentences will be backdated to the date of your initial remand into custody in these proceedings, namely 26 August 2022.”

3 July 2024