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HMA v JAMES MCLELLAN

Today at the High Court in Glasgow Temporary Judge Beckett imposed an extended sentence of fifteen years on James McLellan after he was found guilty of the attempted murder of Leslie McMillan at High Street Lanark on the 21 May 2010. The sentence is composed of a custodial term of 10 years followed by an extension period on licence of 5 years.

On sentencing Judge Beckett made the following statement in court:

“I take into account everything which has been said on your behalf by Mr Nelson. I recognise that your last conviction of any kind was in 2005 and your last conviction for violence occurred ten years ago.

However, this was an offence of considerable gravity. The attack took place at a bus stop at about two o’clock on a Friday afternoon on Lanark High Street where members of the public were going about their lawful business. You carried out this attack in the presence of the complainer’s partner who was eight months pregnant at the time.

Whatever had gone before, you acted with premeditation having bought a Stanley knife in a shop intending to assault the complainer with it.

The slashing of your victim’s face and neck has left him with disfiguring scars and he has been badly affected by what you did to him. He continues to suffer from anger and anxiety for which he requires medical support. The slash wound to his neck might well have killed him but for the timely intervention by a member of the public, the presence of mind and first-aid skill of a police officer, and later the skill of the doctors who treated the complainer in hospital and who performed surgery to deal with the damage which you had caused to the internal structures within his neck. You severed the left side internal jugular vein causing life threatening blood loss. It is only the result of extraordinary good fortune that having severed that vessel you did not also sever the carotid artery.

The jury found you guilty of attempted murder which means that they determined that at the very least you acted with wicked recklessness in carrying out this life endangering assault.

In 2000 you were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for three months for a crime of robbery. In the High Court in the same year you were sentenced to four years imprisonment for two charges of assault and robbery.

It is apparent from the terms of the social enquiry report that you nurtured serious resentment against the complainer in this case. You have exhibited little empathy for your victim and little remorse. You are assessed as presenting a very high risk of incurring a further conviction and you present a high risk of causing harm. You pose a substantial risk to the safety of the public, and in particular to the complainer and his partner.

It is necessary to impose a substantial period of imprisonment to punish you for this extremely grave crime, to deter you and others from carrying knives and using them to commit such crimes, to express disapproval of your outrageous conduct and to protect the public from you.

Because you have been convicted of a serious crime of violence I am concerned to ensure that the public is adequately protected against serious harm from you when you are eventually released.  Taking account of the circumstances of the crime which you committed, your previous convictions and the risk assessment, I conclude that the normal period of licence would not be adequate for protecting the public from serious harm by you. For that reason I am going to pass on you an extended sentence of fifteen years which is in two parts.

First you will serve a custodial term of ten years and then you will be subject to an extension period of five years for the duration of which you will be under licence on conditions fixed by the Scottish Ministers. If during this extension period you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence it may be revoked by the Scottish ministers and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this case.

The sentence will be backdated to 24 May 2010 when you were remanded in custody”.