HMA v John McKay

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 21 April 2017, Lady Scott sentenced John McKay to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 17 years after the accused was found guilty of the murder of William Scott.

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

“John McKay, you were convicted by the unanimous verdict of the jury of the murder of William Scott. By that verdict your suggestion of provocation was rejected. 
You are a man of 46 years who has no history of violence. You have a minor conviction for a road traffic matter and you have led a stable life with a history of steady employment.
Your commission of this murder is out of character. It appears to be related to your depression at the time, for which you were receiving treatment and a history of animosity with the deceased, in the context of your affair with the deceased’s partner being discovered.
Whatever the background, you went to the deceased’s house when angry and demanded entry. You were seen aggressively banging on the windows and kicking the door to get in.
Once the door was opened, you pushed the deceased inside and within the flat you stabbed him seven times: four times in the chest – one of these tab wounds severed a rib; a stab wound to the underside of the chin, which penetrated through the tongue to the back of the throat; a stab wound to the forearm and the fatal stab wound, causing death, was inflicted to the abdomen and had transfixed the liver.
It appears you also gripped the deceased’s neck with such severe force as to break the thyroid cartilage inside on either side. 
In total 67 injuries were inflicted. This was a truly ferocious and murderous assault.
One tragic feature of this case is the evidence of deceased’s young children.
His young daughter saw you push her father into his house and then later, saw you exit with blood on your hands. She then found her father lying dead or dying inside in the flat covered in blood.
You robbed these two young children and four other children of their father and left other family members bereft. Not least the deceased’s parents who have already suffered the loss of two sons and a daughter.
The information before me makes clear the deep affect upon them and they are all struggling to cope.
That this was out of character is significant mitigation that I take into account.
The sentence for murder is fixed by law and is imprisonment for life. However, I also have to impose a period which must pass before you can apply for parole, known as the punishment part of that sentence.
When that period has passed your release from prison will be a matter for the Parole Board. Even after release you will be on licence and subject to recall to prison for the rest of your life.
I sentence you to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 17 years imprisonment which period will be backdated to run from 3 May 2016.”

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