HMA v Blair Logan

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 11 August 2017, Lady Scott sentenced Blair Logan to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 20 years after the accused pled guilty to the murder of his brother Cameron.

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

“Blair Logan, you have pled guilty to the murder of your brother Cameron, the attempted murder of his girlfriend Rebecca Williams and to the endangerment of the lives of your parents, all by the means of wilful fire-raising within the family home on New Year’s day.

“In the early morning, whilst your brother Cameron was asleep in bed, with his girlfriend lying beside him, you entered the room wearing a mask and stood over them.

“You poured petrol firstly, onto the bed and then directly on to your brother and you set fire to him.  

“The fire took immediately, with devastating effect whereby your brother died a horrible death and his girlfriend sustained very serious injuries.

“Cameron was only 23 years old. He was a happy and much loved young man full of ambition for the bright future ahead of him.

“Even if, as you say, you did not intend to kill your brother it is clear that you deliberately set fire to him and you acted with wicked recklessness. 

“I have read carefully the background and psychiatric reports and I accept that you have what is described as ‘abnormal personality traits’ and you have features of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

“This results, amongst other limitations, in your having a limited ability to appreciate the consequences of your actions and a limited emotional response. I take this into account as part of the explanation to your conduct. 

“But there is no suggestion here that you have a mental disorder such that you could not appreciate the nature of and the wrongfulness of what you did. You are fully criminally responsible for your actions.

“The explanation you give for this murder was your long held hostility to and difficulties with your brother. There is no doubt there was considerable mutual animosity between you both – you had not spoken to each other since 2013.

“I do accept, as indicated in the psychiatric reports, that you have a recurring perception of being unfairly treated, which has prompted your hostile reaction to your brother.

What is very clear is that it was your stated intention, in your words, to ’maim him’. Your motivation was malice.  

“You had planned this attack for a considerable time. You obtained and stored the petrol in preparation and you researched documentaries on fire injuries.  

“You have also pled guilty to the attempted murder of Miss Williams. She sustained truly terrible injuries in burns to her face, arms and hands and in fire damage to her throat.

“She has undergone, and will require to undergo, numerous surgical operations. She still has a tracheostomy in place which may be permanent. 

“At the time Miss Williams was employed in her dream job in radio broadcasting – you have robbed her of her voice and her career, of her future with Cameron and of her confidence and sense of self-worth. She remains disfigured, impaired and in pain.

“Your act in setting this fire, also endangered the lives of your own parents who were asleep upstairs. I cannot imagine the pain they will forever endure from what you did, losing in effect both of their sons.

“I take into account the submissions made by your senior counsel – that you deeply regret your actions and have shown considerable distress and remorse and that you appear here as a first offender. I have read the testimonials from your family and others who speak to your good qualities.

“I accept your violence here was out of character. This was nonetheless an exceptionally serious crime.

“Finally, it is to your credit that you have pled guilty at the earliest opportunity, removing the need for a trial and significantly alleviating the distress to your remaining victims. Accordingly, I will reduce the sentence by one sixth to reflect this.

“As I explained to you, when you first appeared before me, by law, you are sentenced to life imprisonment. I have to fix the period of custody which you must serve before you are entitled to apply for release on life licence to the Parole Board. This is what we call the punishment part of the life sentence.

“Balancing all of these factors I sentence you to a punishment part of 20 years reduced from 24 years to reflect your early plea, which sentence is backdated to 16h January 2017 to reflect the time already spent in custody.”