HMA v Robert Kerr

At the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Boyd of Duncansby ordered Robert Kerr to be detained in the state hospital without limit of time after the accused killed his wife.

31 January 2017

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

"On 26 April last year you killed your wife, Xin Xin Liu, in what can only be described as a frenzied attack with a knife. In the course of the attack you inflicted a total of 66 individual stab wounds. In doing so you deprived your sons of their mother and her parents of their daughter.

I have read the victim statements from your wife’s mother and father and from her brother. The impact on the family has been devastating. Nothing I can do or say can compensate for their loss.

You were originally charged with murder. But the Crown accepted that your responsibility for your actions was diminished by reason of your mental condition at the time.

I have considered the psychiatric reports and the report from the mental health officer. I also heard evidence from your psychiatrist.

On the basis of this evidence I am satisfied that you suffer from a mental disorder namely a delusional disorder. That appears to have been characterised by delusions about your wife’s fidelity and of police surveillance, both of which were untrue. It is also clear that your heavy dependence on alcohol and drugs contributed to your illness.

I am satisfied that medical treatment is available that would be likely to alleviate any of the symptoms or effects of the disorder and that if medical treatment was not provided there would be a significant risk to your health, safety or welfare and to the safety of other persons. I am also satisfied that this treatment can only be provided if you are detained in hospital. Such detention requires to be under conditions of special security and that can only be provided in the state hospital.

Having regard to following factors (1) the extreme violence of the offence, (2) your history of dependence on alcohol with poorly sustained periods of abstinence and your lack of ability to cope with stress and (3) the risk that as a result of your mental disorder you may commit offences if set at large, it is necessary for the protection of the public that your detention should be without limit of time.

Accordingly I shall make a compulsion order under section 57A of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 ordering that you be detained in the state hospital together with a restriction order under section 59 of the Act providing that the detention be without limit of time."