HMA v Peter Telfer

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 24 May 2017, Lord Matthews sentenced Peter Telfer to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 21 years after the accused pled guilty to the murder of John Baker.

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

“Peter Telfer, on 25 April, during the course of your trial, and after overwhelming evidence had been led, you pleaded guilty to three serious offences committed within the space of a few hours on 28 and 29 June 2016.

You robbed one young woman of her handbag and contents by coming up behind her, cutting the straps of her bag and running off.

Thereafter you presented a knife at a woman who was alone at a bus stop and attempted to rob her.

Worst of all, for no reason which I can discern, you twice stabbed John Baker, a defenceless 76-year-old man, as a result of which he died.

Your appalling conduct was caught on CCTV and that chilling footage showed you engaged in the most cowardly of behaviour, targeting women and then stabbing Mr Baker in the back. He had the guts to turn and face you before you made off as if nothing had happened.

The fact that you had consumed Valium and vodka is, as Mr Ross has recognised, no excuse at all.

At the material time you were on bail, having been put in that position of trust on 27 June, the day before this dreadful episode started.

I have read the impact statements provided by your first victim and Mr Baker’s niece. It is obvious that your crimes have had and will have considerable effects. 

The young woman travelled the world in the course of her employment and was particularly sad that she had been robbed in her own city.

Mr Baker’s niece spoke of the loss of a kind gentleman, well loved and respected in his local community, taken in horrific circumstances a few hundred yards from his home.

He had recovered from a stroke and from a triple bypass. Not only that but he had just been given the all-clear from cancer, having had a kidney removed, and was looking forward to a holiday to celebrate. 

There was every reason for his family and friends to think that they would have many more good times to share with him until you came along and committed this senseless act. No sentence I can pass will be enough to compensate them for their loss. 

I have read the reports provided to me and taken account of what has been said on your behalf. Your limited record is of no significance and I take no account of it.

The only sentence I can impose on charge 7, the charge of murder, is one of life imprisonment.

However, as part of that sentence I have to select a period which must pass before you can apply for release on Parole. That is known as the punishment part of the sentence. Whether you will be released then or indeed ever will be a matter for others to decide.

In selecting the period, I have had regard to the circumstances of the murder and the other offences to which you have pleaded guilty as well as to your personal circumstances, the contents of the reports and what has been said on your behalf.

In the circumstances, on charge 7 I sentence you to life imprisonment, which will run from 4 July 2016. I fix the punishment part at 21 years, which includes six months attributable to the fact that you committed this offence while on bail.

On charges 5 and 6, the robbery and attempted robbery, I pass a cumulo sentence of imprisonment of three years to run concurrently with the life sentence. I have not included any element in respect of the bail aggravation since I have already done so in relation to charge 7 and these charges were all part of one course of conduct.

I only wish now to re-iterate my admiration for the officers who painstakingly ploughed through hours of CCTV footage and produced the compelling evidence which resulted in the resolution of this tragic case.”