HMA v Ronald Stone

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 28 February 2019, Lord Boyd of Duncansby sentenced Ronald Stone to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 15 years after the accused pled guilty to the murder of Sean Waggett.

On sentencing, Lord Boyd made the following statement in court:

“You have pleaded guilty to the brutal murder of Sean Waggett. This was a sustained attack over a period of time in which you used no less than six weapons including a hammer, a rock, a stone, a piece of wood, a dog lead and a brick.

“At one point after he collapsed face down you picked up a stone, straddled his body and struck him repeatedly on the head with it with full force. You then turned over onto his back and repeatedly hit him with a brick or stone on the head, face and ears.

“Amongst other injuries the pathologists’ report showed a significant number of fractures to the facial bones. His skull is described as shattered with a number of detached fragments of skull present and extrusion of brain material.

“I have no doubt from the level of extreme violence that you intended to kill Mr Waggett and continued the assault to ensure that you achieved that end.

“You have a number of convictions for violence. The most recent was one in 2016 for assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement for which you were imprisoned for three years.

“I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf and read the psychiatric report. It appears from the report that the attack upon you in your home during which you were assaulted with a hammer may be part of the explanation as to why you acted in the way you did.

“I take into account the hostility between you and Mr Waggett over the weeks before his death.

“You were still angry with Sean Waggett for having injected you with heroin the week before these events.

“It is also clear that Mr Waggett was the initial aggressor striking you several times on the arm with a hammer.

“It is to your credit that you have never sought to deny your involvement in Mr Waggett’s death instructing counsel to tender an acceptable plea at an early stage and avoid a trial.

“None of this takes away from the violent and brutal nature of this murder and the manner of Mr Waggett’s death.

“There is only one sentence that I can impose and that is life imprisonment. I am required by law to set a punishment part.

“Had you been convicted after trial I would have imposed a punishment part of 18 years. In the light of the early plea I shall discount that to 15 years. The sentence will be backdated to 21 September 2018.”