HMA v Robert McGregor

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 6 April 2017, Lady Carmichael imposed an extended sentence of 15 years on Robert McGregor after the accused pled guilty to repeatedly raping three young boys. The custodial part will be 10 years, followed by an extended period of five years on licence.

On sentencing, Lady Carmichael made the following statement in court:

“Robert McGregor, you raped the complainer in charges 1 and 2 repeatedly over a period of more than 11 years. He was only six when you began to abuse him.   

You raped the complainer in charge 3 over a period of about a year when he was aged 12.

You raped the complainer in charge 4 on various occasions over a period of weeks in late 2011. 

He was extraordinarily vulnerable as he was aged only three at the time. He had no means whatsoever of letting anyone know what was happening to him.

The behaviour described in charges 1 to 4 spans a period of more than 13 years.

You filmed the abuse of each of these boys. The material recovered demonstrates not only what you did, but that you persisted despite very obvious distress on the part of the first two complainers.  

You have caused lasting harm to them. The third mercifully remembers nothing of what you did.

The abuse itself, being the repeated rape of children, is of itself sexual offending of the most serious and appalling nature. 

There are further aggravating factors. In each case you had close relationships with the families of the children involved, you used that to gain access to the children, and the offences involved a gross breach of trust.

The risk assessment draws attention to some grooming behaviour.

You not only filmed the abuse, but shared it with others on the internet.  

One of your victims was very young and as I have said exceptionally vulnerable. 

In addition to the images of abuse of the three complainers, you had a volume of other indecent images of children on your devices.

The social worker who provided a report indicated that you believed you were having an adult relationship with the first two complainers, and that you had said you would offend in a similar way when released. 

You were assessed last year as unsuitable for a programme intended to prevent further sexual offending.   

I ordered a risk assessment report. In the light of the information in that report I am not satisfied on the balance of probabilities that the risk criteria are met, and will not make an order for lifelong restriction.

I am told that in the months since October last year your motivation to engage in the treatment programme for sex offenders has improved.   You are still not suitable to engage in it, and you will require to do preparatory work before starting such a programme. You pose a risk to boys aged between 6 and 12, and also to very young boys.   

I take into account that you now show some motivation to engage in work designed to prevent you from offending in the future and that the risk assessor identified some evidence to indicate that your behaviour is amenable to change.

My starting point in relation to the custodial part of your sentence for charges 1, 2, 3 and 4 is 15 years in cumulo. I reduce that by one third because you pled guilty by way of section 76 indictment. 

That your plea of guilty has avoided the need for a trial to take place is a significant matter. The custodial period will therefore be 10 years.

On charge 5, which involves in your case the production of images of a very serious nature, I sentence you to five years, reduced to three years and four months, and on charge 6 to three years, reduced to two. These sentences will be concurrent with each other and concurrent with the sentence of 10 years.

You have been assessed as posing a medium, bordering on high, risk to the public if at liberty. You have paedophilic disorder.

The harm you have caused in the past is of a very serious nature. If you were at liberty at this point, I have no doubt that you would pose a risk of serious harm to young boys.

I am told that your progress in offender management programmes in prison is likely to be slow. I am satisfied on the information available to me that the normal time that you would be on licence is not sufficient to protect the public at the point when you come to be released.

On release a prolonged period of your being subject to licence conditions that enable your activities to be supervised and monitored is called for. I therefore impose an extended licence period of five years in relation to charges 1 to 4.

You will therefore be subject to a sentence of 15 years, of which five years is the period of extended licence in relation to the first four charges. The sentence will be backdated to 30 May 2016.

You will be subject indefinitely to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.”