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HMA v MARTIN GOULD

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Pentland sentenced Martin Gould to six years imprisonment after he pled guilty to attempted murder on 31 March 13 in Glasgow.

23 August 2013

On sentencing Lord Pentland made the following statement in court:

“Martin Gould, you have pled guilty to a single charge of attempted murder set out in an indictment served on you under section 76 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995.  The core facts of this case are in short compass, but they involved a disturbing level of violence on your part and serious consequences for your victim.

On Sunday 31 March this year you were drinking in your victim’s home.  He was (until that date) a friend of yours, with whom you regularly socialised and drank.  The agreed statement of the facts (which I must accept as the authoritative version of events) explains that for no apparent reason you suddenly announced to the victim, in the presence of another person, that you were going to kill the victim.  He thought you must be joking, but you then said to the other person “what would you do if I killed him?”

After this you left the room, saying that you were going to the toilet.  The agreed narrative continues by explaining that while you were out of the room, the victim got into bed.  You then returned in possession of a wooden baton.  You launched a violent attack on the victim, repeatedly striking him on the head with this weapon. The walls and your clothes came to be spattered with his blood. 

As a result of this ferocious onslaught your victim suffered fractures to his skull requiring neurosurgery.  He needed also to have extensive plastic surgery and skin grafting.  He has been left with scarring and permanent hair loss.  He will require further plastic surgery.  The victim also sustained a number of other injuries in the attack.  He now suffers from depression, has difficulties sleeping and experiences intrusive memories of the incident.  He has become wary of having visitors to his home.

It is clear that the court must take a very serious view of this violent and unprovoked attack.  It involved the sustained use of a weapon on a defenceless man in his own home.  Your repeated blows were to his head.  He could easily have suffered even more serious injuries and died.  The crime is aggravated by the fact that you were at the time heavily intoxicated by excessive alcohol consumption.

You are now a mature man of 37 years.  The criminal justice social work report makes it clear that the abuse of alcohol lies at the root not just of the present offence, but was also a factor in most of your previous offending. That previous offending is relatively minor, but it does show that you are prepared to disregard the law, particularly when drunk.

I have taken full account of the submissions made in mitigation and of the contents of the report.  I acknowledge that you have shown what appears to be genuine remorse and empathy for your victim.

I very much hope that during your time in custody you will take whatever opportunities are available to you to address your alcohol addiction.  If you do not do so your future must be bleak.

Had you not pled guilty I would have sentenced you to 9 years imprisonment.  I accept that your early plea had utilitarian value since a trial was averted and the victim did not require to testify.  In the exercise of the discretion vested in me, I shall reduce your sentence to one of 6 years imprisonment.  The sentence will be backdated to 2 April 2013.”

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