HMA v Scott Agnew

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 15 August 2017, Lord Clark sentenced Scott Agnew to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 18 years and six months after the accused was found guilty of the murder of Stewart Rexter.

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

“Scott Agnew, you have been found guilty of the murder of Stewart Rexter.

“The evidence was that he owed you three or four hundred pounds, which according to some witnesses was a drug debt.

“On the night in question, you were told by your workmates that he was in Airdrie town centre and so you went looking for him. Having found him, you attacked him.

“You hit him several times. You stabbed him in the head with a screwdriver, through his right temple, penetrating his skull.

“The brain injury that you inflicted upon him was unsurvivable and he succumbed to it and died less than two days later.

“This was a sickening and savage attack.

“Your version of events was that Stewart Rexter had attacked you and that you had acted in self-defence. That account was unanimously rejected by the jury.

“The information before me includes a statement from the father of Stewart Rexter. Your murderous attack has had a profound impact on the family. They are left to deal with their loss, which you have caused, for the rest of their lives.

“I have listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf in mitigation and I have taken all of it into account. I have also had regard to the criminal justice social work report now available to me.

“It is clear both from what was said and from the social work report that you have expressed remorse for your actions. I note that you have previous convictions for drugs offences, but these are not material to my sentencing decision. 

“I must have regard to the seriousness of the crime of murder of which you have been convicted and the fact that the assault was premeditated, that you used a screwdriver, and that, in a sudden attack, you inflicted a catastrophic injury on Stewart Rexter.

“The sentence for murder is fixed by law. It is life imprisonment.

I am obliged to fix a period of time which you must serve in custody before you can be considered for parole. In fixing this period, known as the punishment part, I must reflect the need to punish you for the crime of murder and to deter you and others from committing murder.

“In fixing the punishment part of your sentence the law requires me not to have regard to the risk that you may pose to the public in the future. That will be a matter for the Parole Board in due course.

“I therefore sentence you to life imprisonment. Having regard to the whole circumstances, the punishment part will be one of 18 years and six months, of which six months is attributable to the fact that this crime was committed while you were on bail. Your period of imprisonment is backdated to 9 November 2016 when you were remanded in custody.

“This does not mean that your sentence is one of 18 years and six months. You are sentenced to life imprisonment and you will serve at least 18 years and six months before you can be considered for release on parole.

“It will then be for the Parole Board to determine when you will ultimately be released and they will have regard to the safety of the public in reaching that decision.”