HMA v Ralph Goldie

At Glasgow High Court today (30 November 2017) Lord Arthurson sentenced Ralph Goldie to life imprisonment (punishment part 14 years) after the accused was found guilty of murder and assault to severe injury. On sentencing Lord Arthurson made the following statement in court:

On 29 September 2017 at Glasgow High Court, you were convicted by a jury of, first, a charge of the murder of Jeremy Paradine, and, second, a charge of assault to severe injury upon Martin McQueenie, both on 14 January 2017.

During the course of the evening of 13 January and into the early hours of 14 January 2017, you were drinking with your victims in the home of the complainer Mr McQueenie at 85 Kyle Court, Cambuslang.  My clear impression from the evidence led at the trial is that each of you, that is to say you and your victims, had a significant alcohol problem at that time.  In the early hours of the morning you assaulted Jeremy Paradine, causing him to fall down a flight of steep, narrow stairs at the flat.  You then proceeded repeatedly to kick, stamp and jump on his body.  The evidence of the forensic pathologist made it clear that the head injury, due to the fall, caused Mr Paradine’s death.  He sustained a series of three separate fractures to the left side of his head towards the back of the skull, together with areas of bleeding and swelling within the brain.  In addition, Mr Paradine sustained trauma to the upper part of his abdomen, occasioning rib fractures and the tearing of abdominal structures, namely his liver and pancreas.  While the cause of Mr Paradine’s death was his head injury, plainly caused by blunt force trauma, his other injuries, while not the cause of his death, were life threatening and were inflicted by you after the fatal head injury caused by the fall down the stairs.

You also attacked your other drinking companion, Mr McQueenie, by repeatedly punching and kicking him on the head and body to his severe injury, causing him in particular a fracture to the left orbital floor of his eye socket.

Whatever actually occasioned your attacks upon these two men, one being a murderous attack, in the early hours of 14 January 2017 remains unclear, even after the trial.  In any event, the jury duly convicted you in the terms I have just outlined.

The evidence led at the trial was disturbing and doubtless particularly distressing to members of the deceased’s family who attended.  I have read the Victim Impact Statements tendered by the Crown upon your conviction, and wish to read to you now the eloquently moving words of Mr Paradine’s grieving mother, Mrs Penelope Paradine:

“Jeremy’s life was needlessly cut short by an act of senseless violence.  I have lost my only son and my daughter Catherine has lost her only brother, something which we never contemplated would occur as a parent never expects to outlive their child.”

It is very clear to me from these statements that the loss to the family of Mr Paradine continues to be sorely felt.  Nothing I can say or do today will comfort or compensate Mr Paradine’s family for the loss they have sustained through his death, and it may well be that no sentence I can impose can ever be regarded as a sufficient punishment from their perspective.

Your criminal record comprises 25 groups of previous convictions.  You have served eight prior custodial sentences, notably in 2012 for offences including assault to severe injury and three other assault charges, on indictment, for which offences you received a total sentence of 30 months imprisonment.  I count three additional offences of assault within your record, giving a total of seven prior convictions for crimes of violence.  I should add that in your interview with the author of the Criminal Justice Social Work Report you are recorded as displaying no victim empathy or remorse.

The only sentence which I can pass on charge 2, the charge of murder, is one of life imprisonment, this being the penalty for that crime fixed by law.  I also, however, require to impose a period which must pass before you can apply for release on parole.  That is known as the punishment part of the life sentence.  Whether you actually are or are not released at any time thereafter will be a matter for the Parole Board for Scotland, and even after any future release you will be subject to recall to prison for the rest of your life.

My decision in fixing the punishment part of your life sentence is based on the whole circumstances of this case, including in particular the seriousness of the crime of murder of which you have been convicted and your previous criminal convictions.  I have further listened carefully to what has been said on your behalf this morning by your senior counsel in mitigation, and I have taken all of that into account also. In particular, I note that no weapon was involved and that this offence was not a premeditated one.

I now sentence you as follows.  On charge 2, the charge of murder, the sentence is one of life imprisonment.  The punishment part thereof will be one of 14 years, and this period will be backdated to 16 January 2017 being the date upon which you were first remanded in custody.  On charge 3, the charge of assault to severe injury, the sentence is one of 3 years imprisonment.  This will be similarly backdated and will run concurrently with the punishment part of your life sentence.