HMA v Thomas Nelson

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 26 July 2017, Lord Uist sentenced Thomas Nelson to 12 years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of rape and sexual assault charges.

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

“Thomas Nelson, you have been convicted by the jury of a total of six charges involving physical and sexual violence towards four children many years ago. In addition, you pleaded guilty to four charges of child neglect.

“The course of conduct in which you engaged towards the children in question was quite appalling. Charges 8 and 10 were particularly despicable as they involved you providing on several occasions a girl aged between four and six to other men so that they could have sexual intercourse with her, and on one occasion you having sexual intercourse with her yourself. Charge 16 involved a sexual attack on another girl which ended in digital penetration of her vagina.

“You are now almost 55 years old. You have a criminal record dating from 1980 for many minor offences.

“You were not sentenced to imprisonment until last year, when you received sentences of two and four months’ imprisonment.

“You no doubt are now aware that the offences of which you have been convicted are of such a grave nature that they must attract a long prison sentence.

“On all the common law charges, that is, charges 2, 4, 7, 8 and 10, taken together, the sentence which I impose is 12 years’ imprisonment.

“On the child neglect charges, that is, charges 1, 3, 6 and 11, the sentence which I impose is 12 months’ imprisonment on each charge. Those four sentences will run concurrently with each other and with the sentence on the common law charges.

“On charge 16, the sexual attack resulting in digital penetration, the sentence which I impose is five years’ imprisonment, to run concurrently with the sentence on the common law charges.

“The total sentence is therefore 12 years’ imprisonment. That sentence will run from today’s date.

“As a result of the sentences imposed on charges 8, 10 and 16 you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003. The appropriate notice will be provided to you by the clerk of court.”