HMA v Alexander McIlravie

At the High Court in Livingston today (23 November 2017) Lord Uist imposed an order for lifelong restriction (punishment part 4 years) on Alexander McIlravie after the accused was found guilty of assault with intent to rape a 31-year-old woman. On sentencing Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

You were convicted by a jury at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court on 14 February this year of the crime of assault with intent to rape of a 31 year old woman who was a complete stranger to you at Burntisland Links at about 6.15 pm on the dark, wet and windy evening of 11 November 2015.

When she was walking along a path there with her two dogs on a lead you ran up to her, jumped on her back and took her to the ground. You got on top of her and pinned her face down to the ground using your body weight. She shouted for help and struggled to get free. You repeatedly said to her that you were “just wanting a shag”. She said that she would not give you that, continued to shout and struggle by trying to punch and kick you, to no effect.

Her dogs, who were still on the lead which she was holding, were barking loudly and continually. On your instruction she let go of their leads, but the dogs remained beside her to protect her. You then said to the woman that you had a blade and would cut the dogs if she did not make them shut up.

She told you that the dogs would not go anywhere. She continued to struggle and you punched her on the head. The dogs remained on the spot, harassed you and continued to bark. Eventually you got up and ran away.

Your victim believes that it was the presence and involvement of her dogs that made you break off your attack and leave.

As a result of the attack your victim was extremely distressed and in a very bedraggled and dishevelled condition, with her hair in a mess and her clothes soaked through and covered in sand and water from the surface of the promenade. This was a terrifying experience for her and it has had a devastating effect upon her daily life.

I am in no doubt that, had it not been for the action of your victim’s dogs, you would have proceeded to rape her.

 Following upon your conviction the sheriff, having obtained a criminal justice social work report and a psychological report on you, remitted you to this court for sentence as he considered that the risk criteria might be met in your case.

I therefore ordered a risk assessment report on you, which I have now received and which makes for alarming reading. It assesses you as being at high risk to the physical and psychological well-being of the public at large.

I am informed that you were subjected to extreme neglect and abuse during your childhood years, that you show evidence of early onset, diverse persistent and extreme criminal and violent conduct and that you appear to lack any insight or remorse into your offending or past conduct.

You suffer from antisocial personality disorder and psychopathic personality disorder. You have a history of sexually violent behaviour involving physical coercion. You committed an indecent assault on a female when you were only 13 years of age and you committed the crime of assault with intent to rape on a female when you were only 15 years old. You have stolen items of female underwear from washing lines.

You have also engaged in non-sexual violence, in particular by threatening and assaulting staff in institutions in which you have been detained. There is overwhelming evidence that you are a highly dangerous and violent man who presents a grave risk to the safety of the public.

I am satisfied that the risk criteria are met in your case: there is a likelihood that, if at liberty, you will seriously endanger the lives, or physical or psychological well-being, of members of the public at large.

 I therefore make an order for lifelong restriction in respect of you. That order constitutes a sentence of imprisonment for an indeterminate period. I must also fix the punishment part of your sentence, being the period which you must spend in full in prison before you can apply to the Parole Board for Scotland for release on licence. Had I been imposing a fixed sentence in this case I would, in view of your criminal history and the circumstances of this attack, have imposed a sentence of ten years imprisonment, eight years of which would have been for the purposes of retribution and deterrence.

Applying the statutory formula I shall therefore fix the punishment part of your sentence at four years.

You must not assume that you will be released at the end of that period: you will be released only when the Parole Board for Scotland determines that it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be confined in prison. Your sentence will run from 22 March 2017.

As a result of that sentence you now become subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 for an indefinite period.