HMA v KENNETH RAMSAY

At the High Court in Glasgow on 17 March 2015, Lord Armstrong sentenced Kenneth Ramsay to nine years imprisonment with an extension period of three years after the accused was found guilty of rape and sexual abuse.

On sentencing, Lord Armstrong made the following statement in court:

“Kenneth Ramsay, you have been convicted of five charges, the evidence in relation to which disclosed courses of conduct systematically pursued by you against two women whom you knew to be intellectually disadvantaged and suffering from significant learning difficulties.

In relation to the first of these women, you directed lewd, indecent and libidinous practices towards her and sexually assaulted her from the time when she was 14 years of age until just before her 18th birthday. For a period of almost four years, you induced her to masturbate you, you handled her vagina, rubbed your penis against her vagina, simulated sexual intercourse with her and penetrated her mouth with your penis. You did these things repeatedly and on at least one occasion, you video-recorded yourself while giving the impression of having sexual intercourse with her. You knew of her learning difficulties because you had been her neighbour throughout her life. You compelled her to do the things you wanted her to do by threatening her that if she did not, you would not allow her to see your children, who were, in effect, her only friends.

In relation to the second woman, who was assessed as being of low intelligence, with learning difficulties, and as being suggestible, knowing that she lived alone, and over a period of some eight months, you repeatedly sexually assaulted her and raped her in her own home. On one occasion you attempted to rape her anally. Your conduct only ceased after she was able to disclose what was happening to her support worker.

You were well aware of the particular personal circumstances of these women and their vulnerabilities. Your conduct towards them, for the purposes of your own gratification was callous, manipulative and predatory. What you did has rightly been described not just as reprehensible but as repellent.

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 real remorse or concern for the victims of your crimes. I note that the risk assessment included in the report assesses you as presenting with a profile which suggests a significant risk of similar re-offending. I note that you have one previous conviction which involved a sexual aggravation and which concerned criminal conduct directed towards the young woman who was your victim in the first two charges of which you now stand convicted before me. I note that you have not previously served a custodial sentence.

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 such crimes against women, and particularly women who are vulnerable, as these two women were and are, 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.

I am satisfied that in your case there is no appropriate alternative to a custodial sentence. If I had been considering your convictions in relation to charges 1 & 2, in isolation, I would have imposed on you a sentence of a period of imprisonment of three years in relation to charge 1, a statutory charge, and a further period, to be served consecutively, of three years in relation to charge 2 which is a charge at common law.

I view charges 5, 6 & 7 as, in effect, a single course of conduct. If I had been considering your convictions in relation to these charges, in isolation, I would have imposed on you a cumulo sentence of a period of imprisonment of eight years. 

Since these two groups of charges, charges 1 & 2 on the one hand, and charges 5, 6 & 7 on the other, concern two different women and extend over two distinct periods, the imposition of the sentences, referable to each group of charges, on a consecutive basis would be justified. I consider, however, that to make these sentences consecutive would result in an aggregate sentence which was excessive. I intend therefore to impose a sentence in respect of charge 1, and a further cumulo sentence which reflects the totality of the criminality concerned in all of the other charges, the two sentences to be served concurrently.

Because you have been convicted of sexual offences, and given the similarities in the criminal conduct directed towards each of the two women concerned, notwithstanding the gap in time between the two respective periods concerned, I am concerned to ensure that the public is adequately protected against serious harm from you when you are eventually released. For that reason, in relation to charges 2, 5, 6 & 7, I am going to pass on you an extended sentence of 12 years, which is in two parts.

The first part of the sentence is a period of imprisonment of nine years. But that period of imprisonment is not the end of your sentence. The second part of your sentence will be served in the community. From the date of your release, you will be under licence for an extension period of three years. The conditions of your licence will be fixed by the Scottish Ministers. If during this extension period, you fail to comply with the conditions of your licence, it may be revoked and you may be returned to custody for a further period in respect of this case. The court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.

In addition to that extended sentence in respect of these four charges, I sentence you to a period of imprisonment of three years in respect of charge 1, that sentence to be served concurrently with the extended sentence imposed in respect of the other charges.

Accordingly, in total, I sentence you to nine years imprisonment, with an extension period of three years. The period of imprisonment, to which you have been sentenced, will be backdated to 17 February 2015, when you were first detained in custody in relation to these charges.”