HMA v Robert Thomas Kay

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 21 April 2017, Lady Rae sentenced Robert Kay to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 17 years after the accused pled guilty to the murder of Carlo Volante.

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

"Robert Thomas Kay, you have pleaded guilty to murder by repeatedly stabbing your victim on the head and body. This was a brutal killing where an extreme level of violence was used towards the deceased.

You armed yourself with a knife and chased the victim. During the pursuit the deceased fell after which you attacked him while he was on the ground.

You stabbed him several times causing very deep wounds and finally you drew a knife across his throat. 

From your actions and the words you spoke during and after the attack it is clear that this was a determined effort to kill Mr Volante.

Tragically, as revealed in a victim impact statement put before me the deceased’s partner was a witness to this appalling attack.

You claim that the deceased made some verbal threat towards you. Even if that was true it does not justify the level of violence you inflicted upon the deceased.

It is submitted that due to certain mental health issues you lost control and acted impulsively.

Also you say that you have no recollection of anything after your verbal disagreement with the deceased and up to your arrest by the police although there is no suggestion of alcohol being involved in this case.

I note too that after the attack and prior to your arrest you had the presence of mind to telephone your solicitor.

Your schedule of previous convictions discloses that you have a history of violent behaviour and you have been convicted twice of serious violence. There are a further three convictions for assault on summary complaint, the last occurring in 2014.

I understand that you now express some contrition for what you have done although that is somewhat surprising having regard to what you said to a witness after the assault. But I note all of what has been said on your behalf, albeit any remorse is expressed very late.

In respect of the murder charge, there is only one sentence which I can impose and that is life imprisonment, although I require to fix a punishment part, that is, the minimum period of time that you require to serve in prison to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence, leaving aside the question of the risk which you pose to the public. The effect of this will be that you will not be eligible for release until that punishment part has expired.

Thereafter it will be for the Parole Board for Scotland to consider whether you still present a risk to the public, or, whether you can be released on a life licence with appropriate conditions. If you are still considered a serious risk, after the punishment part has expired, you will not be released. 

I will have regard to all of the matters put before in selecting the punishment part but, having regard to the circumstances of this brutal and determined killing taken together with your violent background, I intend to fix a significant and lengthy period.

You have tendered a plea before the service of any indictment although I am advised that the case has been fully prepared both by the Crown and the defence. Any discount should reflect the utilitarian value of an early plea. The main value in this case is that a trial was avoided accordingly the discount will be four years.

You will be sentenced to life imprisonment and the punishment part, but for the discount, would have been 21 years. I shall discount that by four years, thus the punishment part will be 17 years, backdated to 5 January 2017 when you were first remanded in custody."