HMA v Peter Bernard McDermott

At the High Court in Stirling on 17 June 2015, Lord Uist sentenced Peter McDermott to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 20 years after the accused was found guilty of murdering his father.

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

“Peter Bernard McDermott, you have been convicted by the jury of the murder of your father in his own home in Greenock on 23 April last year. 

When you were extremely drunk you argued with him, went into the kitchen and obtained a knife despite the attempt by a friend to stop you and then proceeded to stab your father 26 times as he sat in his chair.

You then left the house, hid the knife  in a nearby park, and walked about Greenock, going into a public house and a post office, before you were apprehended by a police officer when you were about to wash the blood from your hands in a public toilet. After your apprehension you said to the police: ‘Is he dead yet? He had it coming. He deserved it.’ This was indeed a brutal and callous murder. 

You are now 42 years old. You have many criminal convictions dating from May 2006 and have been sentenced to imprisonment on several occasions. You have three convictions for being in possession of an offensive weapon and two convictions for assault. You had been released from a prison sentence for possession of a knife while on bail only the day before you murdered your father. 

The sentence for murder is fixed by law and I must now pronounce that sentence on you. I sentence you to imprisonment for life. I must also fix the punishment part of your sentence, being the period which you must spend in full in prison before you can apply to the Parole Board for Scotland to be released on licence.

In view of your criminal record and the violence employed by you in the commission of this murder I fix that period at 20 years. You must not assume that you will automatically be released from prison at the end of that period: you will be released only when it is considered that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be confined in prison. 

Your sentence will run from 24 April 2014.”