HMA v MICHAEL GEORGE CROMBIE

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Armstrong sentenced Michael Crombie to a total of 14 years in prison after he was convicted of a number of assaults and rape.

On sentencing Lord Armstrong made the following statement in court:

“Michael George Crombie, you have been convicted of 8 charges, the evidence in relation to which disclosed courses of conduct systematically pursued by you against 3 women with whom you were living at the relevant times. These women were all socially vulnerable and had young children whom they were bringing up on their own. In each of these cases you presented yourself initially as a charming man, but, on becoming part of their lives and moving into their homes, you quickly became controlling, manipulative and violent. In the cases of two of these women you repeatedly detained them against their will by locking them in their own homes and your criminal conduct escalated to repeated violent rape. You deliberately created an atmosphere of fear in the homes of these women.  They were terrified of you and how you might abuse them next.

The events set out in charge 1 occurred during the period from September 1989 to June 1990. During that period you repeatedly assaulted woman A in her own home and in your flat after she moved in with you there.

The events set out in charges 11, 12, 13 & 14 occurred over a period of about a year between March 1993 and April 1994. You moved into the home of woman B and thereafter repeatedly assaulted her there, to her severe injury and permanent disfigurement, by punching and kicking her, head-butting her and on at least one occasion by hitting her with a poker.  As a result of these assaults, she sustained scars and was frequently seen to be marked, bruised, bleeding and to have black eyes.  You locked her in her own home for days at a time.  You repeatedly raped her using violence or the threat of violence to force her submission, and you repeatedly assaulted her young daughter who was aged only 4-5 years at the time.

The events set out in charges 20, 22 & 23 occurred between January and June 1996. After meeting woman C, you moved into her home and repeatedly assaulted her there, to her severe injury and permanent impairment, by punching and kicking her.  She was described in evidence as having been battered, bruised from head to toe and being seen with black eyes.  You repeatedly locked her in her own home, on one occasion, when another woman was living there and was also detained by you against her will, for a period of two weeks.  Woman C eventually managed to get away by escaping with her children through a window into the arms of her relatives. You repeatedly raped woman C in her own home, forcing her by violence or fear of violence to succumb.

I have read a victim impact statement prepared in relation to one of the women concerned.  The lasting effect of your conduct still impacts on her life. 

I note that you have a long criminal history involving over 40 convictions which date from 1983 until 2009, 18 of which occurred prior to the periods of the charges in respect of which I must now sentence you.  I note that while you have no previous convictions in respect of crimes of a sexual nature, you have been convicted of crimes of violence on 5 occasions.                                                       

I have taken account of everything said on your behalf, and I have also had regard to the content of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report now made available to me.  You continue to deny your guilt of these offences, and refuse to take responsibility for what you have done. You appear to lack any remorse or concern for the victims of your crimes.   I note that one of the risk assessment models included in that report assesses you as presenting with a profile which suggests a high risk of re-offending. However I also acknowledge that these crimes, having occurred more than 15 years ago, are now historic.

These crimes of which you have been convicted are disturbing and grave.  It is the responsibility of the court to recognise that society will not tolerate such conduct, and it is important that those who might be disposed to commit violent crimes against women, in the way that you did, understand that they are likely to receive significant custodial penalties once brought to justice.

I have already made an order that you be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  In light of the sentence I am about to impose, that requirement will be continued for an indefinite period of time.  The clerk of court will provide you with a certified copy of the notice of the requirements with which you must comply.

In considering sentence, it is appropriate to recognise that these charges cover 3 distinct periods. Applying that approach, had I been looking at your conviction on charge 1 in isolation, I would have imposed a sentence of 2 years imprisonment.  Had I been considering, in isolation, your convictions on charges 11, 12, 13 & 14, all of which relate to another period, I would have imposed a cumulo sentence of 11 years imprisonment.  Had I been considering, in isolation, your convictions on charges 20, 22 & 23, all of which relate to a further period, I would have imposed a cumulo sentence of 9 years imprisonment.  Making those sentences consecutive, on the basis that they relate to different periods and involve different women, would result in an aggregate sentence which was excessive.  On the other hand, making the sentences concurrent would result in the crimes being insufficiently punished.  A single cumulo sentence, in relation to all of these offences, is appropriate. The cumulo sentence which I impose on you is one of imprisonment for 14 years. That sentence will be backdated to 24 October 2013, when you were first detained in custody in relation to these charges”.

 

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