HMA v Gordon Knott

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 6 March 2018, Lady Scott sentenced Gordon Knott to four years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of historical child sex offences.

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

“Gordon Knott, you have been convicted by the jury of the repeated, calculated and predatory sexual abuse of two young boys, when you were responsible for their care, within a children’s home, between 1973 and 1977 and against one boy in 1981.

“In respect of the first child, you abused him when he was between five and six years old on three occasions within the children’s home and on a trip out.

“In respect of the second child, you sexually abused him when he was between eight and ten years old on what he described as ‘every weekend or every other weekend’. Later, away from the home, you abused him when he was 11 years old.

“You issued threats not to tell. Rather than protecting them in your role as house father, you abused them for your own sexual gratification. They were terrified of you.

“You have been previously convicted in this court in 1997 of essentially the same course of sexual abuse against other children, including similar conduct within the same children’s home. You were sentenced at that time to 16 years imprisonment and you have served that sentence. I take this into account.

“The background report states that since your release in 2008 you have not re-offended, that you have shown good behaviour and you have successfully completed your period on licence. You have produced good character references, you have clearly been a carer of others and you have a supportive family.

“You are now aged 64 years of age and it is suggested in the background report that your age and relocation reduces the likelihood of future harm. These are factors in your favour.  

“The assessment of risk is mixed. An extended sentence is not open to me due to the age of these offences and I am not satisfied that a community disposal is of particular benefit given the positive terms of your conduct in the background report.  

“I have sought to balance all of these factors in the sentence I impose. I have decided it is necessary to sentence you to custody, in punishment for this serious sexual abuse perpetrated by you against young boys in your care.

“Had I been considering these offences in isolation I would have imposed a much longer sentence. But, having regard to the fact these charges would have formed part of the previous indictment had they been reported at the same time and having regard to the fact you have served a very substantial sentence for that indictment, I have significantly reduced the length of this sentence.

“I sentence you to four years imprisonment backdated to 6 February 2018.”