HMA v William Paterson

At the High Court in Glasgow on 28 May 2015, Lord Armstrong sentenced William Paterson to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 22 years after the accused was convicted of the murder of Kevin “Gerbil” Carroll.

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

“William Paterson, you have been convicted of the murder, on 13.1.10, of Kevin Carroll or McCabe and of related contraventions of the Firearms Act 1968, including charges concerning the possession of prohibited weapons and ammunition.

On the evidence, this murder appears to have been premeditated, planned and carried out by you and others in the most calculating way. It was not a spontaneous event which happened on the spur of the moment.  It was in effect an execution. 

Your victim was murdered in the most vicious and brutal manner. The attack took place in a very public place in the car-park of a busy supermarket, where, as a result, ordinary members of the public, going about their everyday business were put at risk from gunfire. 

I have noted what has been said on your behalf.  

I note that you have a criminal record.   

You have three previous convictions, one from the High Court in respect of being concerned in the supply of drugs in relation to which you served a period of imprisonment.

The only sentence for murder is imprisonment for life. However, I also have to impose a period which must pass before you can apply for parole, known as the punishment part of that sentence. When that period has passed your release from prison will be a matter for the Parole Board. Even after release you will be on licence and subject to recall to prison for the rest of your life.

In relation to your conviction for murder, I sentence you to imprisonment for life, to run from 18 July 2014, that being the date when you were first remanded in custody in relation to these proceedings. In having regard to all the circumstances of this offence, I must take into account the aggravating factors I have already mentioned: the facts that this murderous attack was premeditated and callously planned, that weapons were used, and the extreme nature of the violence inflicted. In fixing the punishment part, I must reflect the need to punish you for the crime of murder and to deter you and others from committing that crime. Taking all of that into account, had I been considering sentence in relation to this crime, the crime of murder, alone, I would have fixed the punishment part at 20 years. 

I am required, however, in fixing the punishment part in your case, to take into account the seriousness of that offence, the crime of murder, combined with the other offences of which you stand convicted on the same indictment. I turn therefore to deal with those other offences.

Charges 3 & 5, respectively contraventions of sections 1(1)(a) and 1(1)(b), concern the possession of handguns and ammunition without a firearm certificate. Taking into account the whole circumstances, the sentences I shall impose in respect of these charge, taken in isolation, are periods of imprisonment of three years in each case. Charges 4 & 6, which are respectively contraventions of sections 5(1)(aba) and 5(1A)(f), concern the possession of prohibited handguns and ammunition. Taking into account the whole circumstances, the sentences I shall impose in respect of these charge, taken in isolation, are periods of imprisonment of seven years in each case. These four sentences relating to the contraventions of the Firearms Act 1968 will run concurrently with each other and all will run concurrently with the life sentence which I have already imposed.

I consider it appropriate that these other offences, set out in charges 3, 4, 5 & 6, should be taken into account in determining the appropriate period of the punishment part of the life sentence which I must impose, and that the period which would otherwise be imposed, in respect of the crime of murder alone, should be increased accordingly.

On the basis that I take account of the concurrent sentences totalling seven years which I have imposed in respect of these other offences, but having regard, as I must, to the need to limit the period of any increase to the punishment part referable to those sentences to the parts attributable to retribution and deterrence, and taking into account also the provisions currently in force in respect of early release, the period by which I will increase the punishment part of your life sentence, beyond that part referable to the crime of murder, will be one of two years.

In the result, therefore, I impose a punishment part in respect of your life sentence, in total, of 22 years. That is the minimum period of imprisonment you must serve before you will become eligible for parole.”