HMA v JAMIE THOMSON

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 11 October, 2016, Lady Scott sentenced Jamie Thomson to nine years imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to attempted murder with a crossbow.

On sentencing, Lady Scott made the following statement in Court:

"You have pled guilty to a charge of breach of the peace (charge 3), the culpable and reckless discharge of fireworks to the danger of police officers and others (charge 5) and to the assault of 5 police officers by discharging bolts from a loaded crossbow at them and in so doing, attempting to murder those 5 police officers (charge 7).

On 12 March  this year, in Kilbirnie at about 5.45 am, as a result of complaints of a disturbance from your neighbours, the police arrived outside your first floor flat to find you shouting from your open windows. You were shouting about the devil and your behaviour was erratic. It was noticed you had several large kitchen knives lined up and stabbed into the window ledge. You barricaded yourself inside your flat and for a period in excess of 6 hours your behaviour escalated in the disturbance you were causing, in the damage done and the violence of your conduct.

You broke all the windows of your flat and you threw various items and missiles at the police outside, including a large kitchen knife and a glass object. When police officers using protective shields arrived you set off four fireworks from the living room window, which were directed towards police officers (who had to run for cover) and a police vehicle.

A full firearms operation was established, and trained negotiators were deployed and they tried to negotiate with you over a long period of time, without success. Your response to their arrival was to throw items at them, including shards of glass at one negotiator and you shouted afterwards "Ah nearly got him. I wanna slice his fucking heed aff".  

Throughout this siege you shouted threats of violence at the police, including threats to kill.

When firearms officers tried to speak to you, you shouted and swore, asked them to shoot you and shouted you wanted to have a fight. 

At about 11:05 hours you produced a cross bow, and stood at the living room window with it.  Firearms officers repeatedly instructed to you to drop your weapon, but you refused. Instead you pointed the cross bow at the firearm officers and walked from room to room, pointing the cross bow out the window at the police. You fired a number of bolts directly at 5 firearms officers. As they took cover, one of the bolts narrowly missed one of them and deflected off the top of their motor vehicle. You directly fired at two other officers and struck the side of their police vehicle. Finally you deliberately fired at two other individual police officers, one bolt striking the ground very nearby. You also continued to throw shreds of glass at the officers as they took cover. Throughout this you kept shouting “just shoot me”.

Finally at about 12:14 hours, due to the threat to life, one of the firearms officers shot you in the arm and the police forced entry to the flat.

Afterwards in hospital and after treatment, you stated you wished to write a letter in respect of the police officer who shot you, in his favour and said that you had wanted to die but you were now grateful you had only been shot in the arm.

I am satisfied that throughout this siege you became more angry and agitated, and you were extremely emotionally and mentally distressed. During the siege you phoned family members saying ‘they’ were out to get you and you would die. You repeatedly shouted you wanted to die. 

This was a highly dangerous and protracted course of violence directed at police officers acting in the course of their duty in seeking to prevent this disturbance and latterly to protect life. Your actions in throwing fireworks and shreds of glass directly at them, followed by shooting at them using the crossbow, placed the individual police officers in grave danger. By your plea you have accepted that you had a wicked intention to kill the police involved or were wickedly reckless as to whether that was the result.

The very serious nature of this conduct requires me to impose a very substantial prison sentence.

You also have a criminal record with convictions for public disorder, culpable and reckless conduct and for violence.

Whilst you have been seen by a number of psychiatrists since you were a teenager and at times treated with anti-psychotic drugs, the psychiatric report before me suggests you do not have any mental disorder, that you are functioning well and there is no basis for reducing your responsibility for your actions here. You were heavily intoxicated at the time.

On the other hand, I accept you were also clearly very distressed at the time. You repeatedly called on police officers to shoot you. In the event you were shot in the arm.  I also accept you have had a damaging and traumatic childhood where you were exposed to serious violence from a young age and that this background is a factor in your offending. You are still relatively young.

Finally I take into account you offered to plead guilty when you first appeared at a preliminary hearing without legal representation and I accept you have genuine remorse.

Balancing all of these factors I sentence you to a cumulo sentence in respect of all the charges of 9 years imprisonment reduced from 12 years to reflect your early plea, which sentence is backdated to 18 March 2016."