At the High Court in Glasgow Judge Rae sentenced Graeme McLaren to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 20 years after he was found guilty of the murder of James Small on 5 June 2013 in Greenock.

On sentencing Judge Rae made the following statement in court:

17 December 2013

“You have been convicted unanimously by the jury of a most brutal and depraved attack on a defenceless and vulnerable elderly man.  Not satisfied with causing him horrific internal injuries inflicted in a most demeaning way, you put him in fear of being reported to the police for a wholly false allegation fabricated by you.  As a result of this and his embarrassment he failed to seek medical attention and died in agony and alone some days after your attack.  He must have suffered excruciating pain.  The evidence also revealed that you boasted about what you had done and even made jokes about it thus displaying a most callous attitude. 

In the course of this trial you have done your best to blacken the character of the deceased by making negative comments about his lifestyle and continuing to make a serious but false allegation against him.   You have also shown no remorse whatsoever for your actions. I noticed that not satisfied with having deprived a family of their father, you thought it appropriate when leaving the dock yesterday to gesture in a mocking way towards family members who have had to sit throughout this trial and listen to the horrific death suffered by their loved one.

You have a lengthy record of in excess of 40 convictions covering a variety of offences including violence and carrying weapons and although most of your offences are at summary level you are no stranger to the criminal courts.

In respect of a charge of murder, there is only one sentence which I can impose, although, I require to make an order setting what is called a punishment part, that is, the minimum period of time that you require to serve in prison to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence.

The effect of this will be that you will not be eligible for parole or release until the punishment part has expired.  Thereafter it will be for the Parole Board and the Parole Board alone to consider whether you still present a risk to the public, or, whether you can be released on a life licence with appropriate conditions.  If you are still considered a serious risk, after the punishment part has expired, you will not be released. 

I shall backdate your sentence to 12 June 2013 when you were first remanded in custody.

You will be sentenced to life imprisonment and in view of your criminal record, the brutality and nature of this attack and your complete lack of remorse, the punishment part will be one of 20 years.”