HMA v PETER MOORE

At the High Court in Glasgow on 23 October 2014, Lady Wolffe sentenced Peter Moore to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 18-and-a-half years after the accused was convicted of the murder of his brother.

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

“Peter Moore, you have been convicted by the jury after trial of the murder of your brother, Derek Moore on the 3rd of January of this year. 

The mandatory sentence for murder is life imprisonment. As the trial judge, and now as the sentencing judge, it is my responsibility to fix the punishment part of that sentence, meaning the minimum term you must serve before you may be considered for release. 

For these purposes, and in order to satisfy the requirements for deterrence and retribution, I have regard in particular to the seriousness of the crime of which you have been convicted and your previous convictions. 

You have been convicted of the most serious crime recognised under Scots law –of murder- and, in your case, this was the murder of your own brother in the house of your mother. In convicting you of murder, the jury rejected your defence of self defence and also rejected that there was any degree of provocation. 

Both you and your brother had taken drink in the day before, and in the hours before, the fight began between the two of you. This began with assault by fists and where the deceased was the aggressor. 

You were witnessed thereafter having the knife first, and using it on your brother while he was still prone. There is some evidence that he also had the knife, although this was while he still lay on the ground and you were positioned standing over him.  The injuries sustained by your brother were numerous, exceeding some 70 separate external marks or injuries. Some of these were defensive in nature. By reason of the distribution and number of wounds, these could not be attributed to a single blow or attack, but resulted from many blows and other injuries consistent with being dragged across a carpet and down stairs. Only one of these blows proved to be the fatal wound.  By contrast your own wounds were trivial. Furthermore, the distribution of the blood later found in the flat, and down the first set of stairs in the common close, indicate that the assault was sustained and took place in a number of rooms in the flat as well as continuing down the stairs. The pattern of the blood in the flat and outside it, and the injuries to your brother, were consistent with his having been dragged down the stairs of the common close down to the first half-landing below. You left him there to die. 

This was not a case of murder resulting from a single blow in the heat of the moment. The whole evidence indicates that this was a prolonged and vicious attack, taking place intermittently over a period of time and in several places, and that you continued the attack upon your brother long after you had secured the knife from him. 

In relation to your previous convictions, these are very numerous amounting to over 40 previous convictions, and reflect a broad pattern of offending. Your record includes seven convictions for assault. More concerning is the fact that two of the more recent ones were on Indictment and were aggravated by injury or to severe injury. Two other convictions involved the use of a knife. Your record is a very serious and disturbing one. 

I have had regard to the CJSW Report. It assesses you as a very high risk of reoffending. It also notes the circumstances of a difficult and problematic upbringing. 

I have also had regard to what has been said on your behalf in mitigation: that you accepted from early on that you had used the knife; and that as a consequence of your actions you lost the support of your partner and that your children are now in foster care. 

The crime of murder is a most egregious crime. You have doubly punished your family by your actions and which resulted in the murder of your own brother. 

Having regard to all of these matters, the punishment part that I impose in order to satisfy the requirements of deterrence and retribution is one of 18 years and six months with a period of six months being attributable to the bail aggravation. This will be backdated to the date when your custody in respect of this matter commenced, being 6 January 2014. 

You have evinced a desire to improve yourself and to achieve some education or training while in custody. While there, you have the opportunity to engage with other services to assist in helping you address the drug and alcohol misuse that have been unhappy features of your life. I do hope that you do, and so have the potential to become a more productive member of society when you are eventually released.”