HMA v JOHN JOSEPH MILLARKIE

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Uist sentenced John Joseph Millarkie to 3 years 8 months imprisonment after he pled guilty to assault and attempted robbery on 17 February 2013 at Shetland Turf Accountants’ betting shop in Lerwick.

23 July 2013

On sentencing Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

You pleaded guilty to the crime of assault and attempted robbery on 17 February this year at the Shetland Turf Accountants’ betting shop in Lerwick. You went there, dressed in a farcical amateur disguise and adopting a false Irish accent, on a Sunday morning and presented a knife with a 20 cm blade at two members of staff to whom you were well known and who recognised you. You swiped the knife at the male member of staff, Magnus Burgess, and cut his middle finger. It was only because Mr Burgess very courageously physically tackled you and summoned the police that you did not succeed in carrying out a robbery of over £3,000. Mr Burgess is to be highly commended for his bravery. This incident was a terrifying experience for both members of staff. You have said that you committed this crime in order to have the money to leave Shetland following upon the death of your wife. You were on bail at the time you committed this crime.

You are now 55 years old and have two previous convictions but have never previously been sentenced to custody. You pleaded guilty to child pornography offences on 21 March this year and you will be sentenced for those offences in the sheriff court on 17 October. You have not worked since 2006 for health reasons. I have considered all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation and the contents of the criminal justice social work and psychiatric reports, but you must be aware that someone who carries out an armed robbery of this nature is bound to receive a significant prison sentence. It appears from what I have read that you have a gambling problem and are also financially irresponsible.

Had you been convicted by a jury after trial I would have imposed a sentence of 5 years 6 months imprisonment, of which 6 months would have been attributable to the bail aggravation. As you pleaded guilty at an early stage that sentence will be discounted to 3 years 8 months imprisonment and will run from 18 February 2013.