HMA v Keith Farquharson

At the High Court in Glasgow today (23 March 2020) Lady Stacey sentenced Keith Farquharson to imprisonment for life after the offender was found guilty of murdering his wife.

The punishment part of the sentence is 15 years. This is the period the offender must spend in prison in full before any application to the Parole Board for Scotland for release on licence. Release is not automatic but only if and when it is considered that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that the offender continue to be confined in prison.

On sentencing, Lady Stacey made the following statement in court: 

“Mr Farquharson you have been convicted by the jury of the most serious of crimes, that is, murder.

You murdered your wife, to whom you had been married for over 30 years and with whom you lived. You took the life of a woman in her fifties. In doing so you deprived her of what would probably have been many more years of life. You deprived your two daughters and your son of their mother’s society. You deprived your wife’s mother and sister of her society. Nothing that I can do or say in court today can lessen the grief and anguish that your daughters and son and other members of your late wife’s family must feel.

You are 60 years old. You have one previous conviction, which does you no credit, but it is not for a crime of violence. You have been a police officer for most of your working life, and you attained the rank of inspector. It is distressing that a man who has been in such a position should behave as you did and commit a very serious crime.

Your late wife was in her own home where she should have been safe when you attacked her and took her life. You compressed her neck and face and restricted her breathing and so caused her death. You did call for emergency assistance and you did attempt CPD on your wife. But you did not tell the truth to the emergency services or the police who came to your house. You pretended that she had fallen out of bed when you were not in the bedroom. You knew that was not true. You did not tell the truth to your family either. You left your family not knowing the truth. What you have done has destroyed your family and taken away the trust that children should be able to have in their father.

The evidence from the post mortem was that your wife died due to external compression of her neck with occlusion of the external airways. You did that to your wife by applying pressure to her.

In convicting you of murder, the jury found that your actions showed that at the time you either meant to kill or were so wickedly reckless as to the consequences of your actions, that it amounted to murder. Even if you regretted it afterwards the jury found your actions at the time to be murderous.

As you have already been told, the sentence for murder is fixed by law. I must now impose that sentence upon you. I sentence you to imprisonment for life.

I must also fix the punishment part of your sentence, being the period which you must spend in prison in full before you can apply to the Parole Board for Scotland for release on licence. You should not assume that you will automatically be released at the end of that period. You will be released only when it is considered that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be confined in prison.

In fixing the punishment part I have borne in mind the need for punishment for taking your wife’s life. I have taken into account all that has been very helpfully said on your behalf by Mr Duguid and all that has been written in the report by the social worker. I accept that you did not plan this in advance and that you did, as Mr Duguid has said, expect to continue with your marriage and retire with your wife. I accept that you feel remorse. Although I note that the social worker has some reservations about your understanding the impact of what you did. I am prepared to proceed on the basis that you do understand clearly the impact of what you did. I bear in mind your age, and your previously useful role in society. I consider that the appropriate punishment part in your case should be 15 years. I shall take into account the time that you have spent in custody on remand by backdating the start of your sentence to 2 September 2019.”

 

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