HMA v Grace Fullerton

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 23 January 2018, Lord Ericht imposed a Community Payback Order on Grace Fullerton after the accused was found guilty of the attempted murder of her husband Iain, in a “highly exceptional” case.

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

“Grace Fullerton, you have been found guilty of attempting to murder your husband. In most circumstances appropriate punishment could only be achieved by the imposition of a custodial sentence. 

“I have listened to what has been said on your behalf this morning. You are 61 years of age and have led a respectable life.  

“It was clear from the evidence at the trial that you suffer from mental health difficulties: the attempt to murder your husband took place during an attempt by you to commit suicide, and you have made other suicide attempts both before and since. Since the incident you have begun to receive medical treatment for these difficulties. 

“I asked for a report from a psychiatrist to give me some more information about your mental health, and in particular the risk that you pose to others. The psychiatrist states that you suffer from a mental disorder, specifically mental illness which has been characterised as adjustment reaction. Your mental disorder is treatable and is alleviated by medical treatment in the form of counselling, structured nursing support and medication. 

“On the issue of risk, the psychiatrist notes that the offence occurred within the context of an apparent matrimonial argument surrounding your husband’s drinking. He states that should your husband’s current abstinence be maintained this is unlikely to be a point of conflict in the future. He also states that it is unlikely that you would behave in a violent manner towards anyone else. 

“I have also received a Criminal Justice Social Work Report which has assessed the risk. The report has concluded that there are no wider public protection concerns that would make a community based disposal unsuitable. 

“I have also been supplied with a letter from the community psychiatric nurse treating you. She says that she has got to know you quite well and believes that you are essentially a kind caring and intelligent lady who has a close circle of friends. She states that she has never had any impression that you pose any risk to others. 

“I have received a positive report about the work you are doing in a café as part of the treatment for your mental health difficulties. 

“I have received a letter of support from your son Matthew. Finally, I have received a letter from your husband, the man you attempted to murder. 

“He states: ‘I am the victim of the crime that Grace has been found guilty of, and as such I want to make it very clear, in the strongest terms, that I do not wish Grace to suffer a prison sentence. I would feel more pain, should this happen, than I felt during the original incident. It would feel as though I have been hurt all over again. A prison sentence will not benefit anyone. I beg that the court returns Grace to me so we can try to re-build our lives together’. 

“Grace Fullerton, you have no previous convictions therefore never served a custodial sentence.

“Before I imposed a sentence of imprisonment for this offence I would require to be satisfied that no other method of dealing with you is appropriate. 

“A crime such as the one you committed should not go unpunished and I do not intend that it should go unpunished.

“However, having regard to all of what I have said, the circumstances of your case are highly exceptional. I have concluded that it is not necessary to impose a custodial sentence. 

“I impose a Community Payback Order with conditions of 300 hours unpaid work within 12 months, supervision for three years and a requirement to conform to the directions of the supervising officer as to engagement with psychiatric treatment.”

Sentencing Statements

HMA v Paul Johnson

Thursday, 15 November, 2018

HMA v Brian Docherty

Monday, 12 November, 2018

HMA v Stephen Kinnaird

Thursday, 8 November, 2018

HMA v Raymond Oldham

Wednesday, 7 November, 2018

HMA v Simon Quin

Tuesday, 6 November, 2018