HMA v John Costello

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 15 February 2017, Lord Clark sentenced John Costello to 10 years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of repeatedly raping a girl and sexually abusing her sister.

“John Gordon Costello, you have been convicted of six charges, involving multiple forms of sexual abuse carried out by you against two young girls, who are sisters.

In relation to the younger sister, you were convicted of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour of a very grave kind towards her from when she was aged just seven years old, continuing until she was 12 years old, and also of raping her on a number of occasions during that same period.

In relation to the other young girl, you were convicted of using lewd, indecent and libidinous practices and behaviour towards her when she was aged between 10 and 15 years old.

The offences took place between June 1996 and November 2000. You were aged between 22 and 26 at the time.

The victim impact statement prepared in relation to the younger sister shows that your conduct has had a devastating and lasting effect on her life. She continues to require treatment for problems created by your behaviour towards her. 

You have a history of previous offending which includes convictions for the possession and distribution of indecent images of children, in respect of which you have served periods of imprisonment.

I have taken account of everything said on your behalf this morning, and I have also had regard to the contents of the Pre-Sentence Report (which is the equivalent of a Criminal Justice Social Work report) now made available to me.  I also note and take into account the observations made on your behalf about certain parts of this report.

I note that you continue to deny your guilt of these offences.

You are assessed as posing a medium risk of reconviction and as posing a high risk of physical and psychological harm to female children under the age of 16, although I also recognise that these assessments have been influenced by your continued denial of criminal responsibility.

I also note that you have been married for 12 years and that you have a history of employment.

I have already made an order that you be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. 

In light of the sentence I am about to impose, that requirement will be continued for an indefinite period of time. 

The clerk of court will provide you with a certified copy of the notice of the requirements with which you must comply.

Further, I note that you are now subject to a lifelong Sexual Offences Prevention Order which provides a degree of protection to younger females.

I have approached the matter of sentencing in the following manner.

There is no alternative to a lengthy prison sentence in order to impose an appropriate punishment, to mark the gravity of your crimes, to seek to deter you and others from sexually abusing young girls and to protect the public from you.

I view the offences as part of a course of conduct. In view of the very serious and repeated nature of the criminal conduct that you practised, particularly on the younger girl, in relation to charges 1, 3, 4 and 5, I pass on you a cumulo sentence of 10 years imprisonment.

Charges 2 and 6 relate to statutory offences and I impose the statutory maximum of two years imprisonment in respect of each of those charges. The sentences on charges 2 and 6 will be served concurrently with the sentence on charges 1, 3, 4 and 5.

Accordingly, you are sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. The sentence is backdated to 19 January 2017, when you were first remanded in custody in relation to these charges.”