HMA v Nicholas McGurk

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 22 February 2017, Lord Boyd of Duncansby imposed an extended sentence of 16 years' imprisonment on Nicholas McGurk after the accused pled guilty to charges of armed robbery, assault and abduction. The custodial part will be nine years followed by an extension period of seven years on licence.

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

“Nicholas McGurk, on 26 August last year you entered Brodies Traditional Fish and Chip shop in Coupar Angus after it had closed for the day using a side door.

You were armed with an imitation firearm and a knife. You then proceeded to subject the owner and his wife to a quite terrifying ordeal.

You threatened to kill them. You held a knife at Mr Wong’s neck. You bound his hands with cable ties and you robbed the shop.

You then abducted Mrs Wong, brandishing a knife at her, threatening her and driving off with her in the couple’s car.

In the course of this you assaulted her and detained her against her will. It is difficult to imagine the fear that she must have felt at what was happening to her.

Not unnaturally this has had a large impact on both Mr and Mrs Wong.

You have a long criminal record. Significantly in 2009 you were convicted at the High Court in Glasgow of assault and robbery for which you received a cumulo sentence of 77 months imprisonment.

Given the nature of these offences and your record I have considered whether or not I should make a risk assessment order and consider an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

However, having regard to the terms of the criminal justice social work report I have decided that the criteria are not met in this case.

While the offences undoubtedly caused significant psychological harm there was no great physical or sexual violence.

I listened carefully to what was said on your behalf. It is clear that you had a difficult and unhappy childhood. You have shown insight into the effect of your actions on Mr and Mrs Wong and have expressed remorse.

Nevertheless these are very serious charges. And while I am satisfied that the criteria for a risk assessment order has not been met you still pose a high risk to public safety which I must consider carefully.

On charges 1 and 2 I shall impose a cumulo extended sentence of 16 years, of which nine years shall be the custodial part and seven years extended. Had you been convicted after trial the custodial part of the sentence would have been 12 years imprisonment.

On charge 3, the sentence is one of four years six months discounted from six years

On charge 6 the sentence is nine months imprisonment, discounted from 1 year.

I shall disqualify you from holding or applying for a driving licence for a period of 10 years.

I shall admonish you on charge 8.

These sentences shall run concurrently and will be backdated to 29 August 2016.”