HMA v DANIEL ROBERT WELSH

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 8 December 2014, Lady Rae imposed upon Daniel Welsh an Order for Lifelong Restriction with a punishment part of four years and six months after the accused pleaded guilty to rape.

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

“Daniel Robert Welsh, you have pleaded guilty to a most serious and monstrous attack on a young woman who was unknown to you. The attack lasted almost two hours during which you forced her to accompany you, threatened to shoot her if she did not comply with your instructions and subjected her to a horrific, degrading and prolonged sexual attack. You repeatedly raped her at two separate remote locations. Despite her repeated pleas to be released from your control you forced her to accompany you between each of these locations, which were some distance from each other. One cannot even imagine the terror that this young woman must have suffered during that period. It is clear from the victim’s impact statement that she has been seriously traumatised by your actions and the long lasting psychological damage to this young woman is incalculable. 

I have been invited by the Crown in this case to make an Order for Lifelong Restriction. Before doing so I have to be satisfied that you meet the criteria set out in section 210E of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995, namely, that the nature of the offence to which you have pleaded guilty, either in itself or as part of a pattern of behaviour is such ‘as to demonstrate that there is a likelihood that if at liberty’, you ‘will seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well-being of members of the public at large’.  

I have before me an agreed narrative describing your attack in some detail. You have a record of previous convictions which discloses offending of a sexual nature dating back to 2007. In addition it is apparent that your offending includes some behaviours of a sexual nature, stretches back to periods before you reached the age of 16. You were at the time of this offence: on bail; you were a registered sex offender; and you were subject to a full Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which I note you had previously breached. 

I am urged by your counsel not to impose an order for lifelong restriction but to impose an extended sentence, largely due to your youth. I appreciate that you are still a young man and that you have had a troubled background, but it is clear from the information before me that offending behaviour has been a significant feature of your childhood and adolescence. Your troubled history in my view cannot mitigate the seriousness of the charge before me. As disclosed in the risk assessment report and your schedule of previous convictions you have a significant history of sexual offending and, combined with the circumstances of the present offence, it is obvious that you are a serious danger to the public. You claim not to remember having committed this appalling crime. In my view, that factor enhances any risk you pose because, if indeed true, it means, inevitably, that you are unable to recognise any triggers for your offending and to deal with them appropriately, without resorting to a violent sexual crime.           

Having regard to the nature of this crime, your record of previous convictions and your history of offending, and having regard to all of the information contained in the detailed risk assessment report prepared for this court, I am satisfied that you are a high risk offender and that you meet the criteria set out in section 210E of the 1995 Act. It is also clear that you do require long-term risk management and treatment. It is concerning that despite previous attempts to encourage you to engage in relevant offence focused work you have refused to do so. That again enhances your risk in my view. Accordingly I intend to make an Order for Lifelong Restriction in this case.              

The law demands that I set a punishment part, namely the minimum period of imprisonment which you require to serve to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence. In setting that period I must first decide what would have been the appropriate determinate sentence had I not been imposing an Order for Lifelong Restriction. Thereafter I am required to make certain deductions to that period. The first deduction I must make is to remove from that notional determinate sentence any element of the sentence applicable to protection of the public in the future. Next I require to reduce the sentence by between one half to one third to take account of the early release provisions. Then I am required to reduce the sentence to allow a discount for your early plea. This may seem a very complicated way of reaching an appropriate punishment part but I require to follow the directions of the Court of Appeal in this matter.           

Accordingly, having regard to the prolonged, vile and depraved attack perpetrated on this young woman, taken together with your history of offending I am of the view that a lengthy determinate sentence would have been merited in this case. I would have imposed a determinate sentence in this case of 12 years. I will reduce that by two years to remove the element of future risk. (10 years) In view of the nature of this charge and your history I am only prepared to reduce the sentence by one third to take account of the early release provisions, namely, by three years and four months (six years and eight months). Thereafter I shall discount the sentence by about one third because you pleaded at the earliest date possible. I am only prepared to discount by two years and two months. That leaves a figure for the punishment part of four years and six months which will be back dated to 5 February 2014 when you were first remanded in custody. Such a sentence means however that you will not be eligible for release from custody until you have served the full period of the punishment part. Thereafter you will not necessarily be released, unless and until you are deemed to be no longer a serious risk to the public. The decision whether and when to release you will be made by the Parole Board for Scotland. If and when released, you will remain subject to continuing risk assessments and most probably close supervision for the rest of your life.  

The only other matter which I require to tell you about is that, having been convicted of a sexual offence, a further notice will shortly be served on you under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, advising you of the notification requirements which you will be obliged to submit to on release.”