HMA v Kriss Strachan

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 13 May 2015, Lord Boyd of Duncansby imposed an extended sentence of 19 years imprisonment on Kriss Strachan – a custodial term of 12 years followed by an extension period of seven years on licence – after the accused pleaded guilty to rape.

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

“Kriss Strachan, you have pleaded guilty to a cruel and degrading attack on a 90 year old lady. At an early hour of the morning you knocked on her door. You forced your way into her house pushed her over, threatened to kill her, punched her repeatedly round the head, compressed her neck, removed her clothing and you raped her.

The physical injuries that you inflicted were significant. The medical evidence and photographs show extensive bruising over the whole her face including her eyes, cheekbones, upper lip, gumline, jawline and chin. There was also bruising across her chest, shoulders, arms legs and foot. Injuries were also noted to her private parts and you infected your victim with a sexually transmitted disease.

I have no doubt that the psychological injuries are just as significant and certainly longer lasting. This lady used to live an independent life in her own community. As a result of what you did to her she can no longer live there. Her daughter says that her mother has changed from being a happy independent woman who loved her home to being reliant on others for everything and wishing she was dead.

The consequences are truly appalling. I can only hope that one day you might begin to understand the full gravity of what you have done – the pain, suffering and humiliation you inflicted on this lady.

I have listened carefully to what Mr Kerrigan has said on your behalf. I take into account that you are still young and that you have not previously been convicted of a sexual offence.

I have to consider the safety of the public. That is why I made an order for a risk assessment. The assessment reaches the conclusion that the risk you pose to the public on release is medium. It is based to some extent on you successfully completing treatment designed to address your sexual offending. Since you are young, and you have not before been required to engage in such treatment, there is uncertainty as to its effectiveness. Nor is it certain whether your sexual interest in elderly women is a passing phase or a sexual deviance.

Nevertheless having regard to the conclusions of the risk assessment and the reports from Dr Lisa Cameron and Dr Alex Quinn, together with the other information before me, I am persuaded that the risk criteria are not met and that I do not require to make an order for lifelong restriction. It is clear however that you still pose a significant risk to the public and in particular elderly women.

Given the risk I intend to impose an extended sentence. That is in two parts. The first part is a custodial part. That will be followed by an extended period in the community when you will remain under licence and under supervision.

It is important that you understand what that means. From the date of your release, you will be under licence for an extension period. 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 crime. The court also has power to deal with you if you commit another offence after your release and while you are on licence.

I have already informed you that you are subject to the notification requirements in the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  You will be given a copy of the requirements with which you must comply.

I will also direct the clerk of court to notify the Scottish Ministers of the fact of your conviction under the Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

In determining the custodial part of the sentence I have regard to the age of your victim, the significant degree of violence that you used towards her and the physical and psychological damage that you inflicted. I also have regard to the requirement for public safety and the fact that a significant period of time will be required in prison for you to undergo appropriate treatment.

Against these factors I balance your youth and relative lack of offending and the expressions of remorse that have been expressed through your counsel. I also take into account that by pleading guilty you spared your victim the further trauma of giving evidence in court.

The sentence I will impose will be an extended sentence of 19 years.

Had you been convicted after trial the custodial part of the sentence would be 15 years in a Young Offenders Institution. Having regard to the fact that you have pleaded guilty at an early stage I will discount it to 12 years. That period will be followed by an extension of seven years. The sentence is backdated to 28 July 2014.”