HMA v Louisa Jane Rendall Anderson

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 21 July 2017, Lord Uist sentenced Louisa Anderson to six years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to the culpable homicide of her husband Douglas Anderson.

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

“Louisa Anderson, you pleaded guilty to killing your husband, aged 39, at home in the early hours of the morning of 25 February this year by striking him on the leg with a knife when you were very drunk.

“His death occurred in the course of an argument about his sister arising out of events that had occurred on the evening of 24 February when you and he had been out drinking.

“You must have acquired the knife, which was a substantial one, before using it on him in an upstairs bedroom. You caused a gaping wound to his right upper calf which severed an artery and vein, resulting in his death.

“You initially lied to the police about what had happened.

“You are now almost 37 years of age.

“You are someone who is not averse to the use of violence as you were convicted of a charge of assault and a charge of assault to severe injury involving the use of a knife in 1998 and of a charge of assault to injury in 2010.

“I have been informed by the social worker who has submitted a report to the court that on this occasion your actions were impulsive, that you have anger management issues and that your decision-making skills at the material time were probably significantly impaired by intoxication with alcohol. Such intoxication does not provide any defence or mitigation for your conduct.

“This was not an offence committed against the background of a violent marriage, for you and your husband appear to have been happily married and, indeed, had renewed your marriage vows in November 2014 after ten years of marriage.

“You will now have to live with the fact that you unjustifiably took his life.

“I accept that you have been profoundly affected by what you did and that you have shown considerable remorse.

“In selecting the sentence to be imposed I have taken into account all the information placed before me, including the contents of the criminal justice social work report, the references tendered to the court and all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation.

“Nevertheless, you must understand that the crime which you committed involved that taking of another person’s life by the use of a lethal weapon, even though you had no intention to kill him. The sentence to be imposed must recognise that fact.

“Moreover, this is not the first occasion on which you have used a knife to inflict injury on another person.

“Had you been convicted by a jury after trial I would have imposed a sentence of nine years’ imprisonment. As you pleaded guilty at an early stage that sentence will be discounted to six years imprisonment, to run from 27 February 2017.”