HMA v Daryl Howard

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 12 July 2018, Lady Rae sentenced Daryl Howard to an extended sentence of 10 years and eight months after the accused pled guilty to the attempted murder of his mother Eleanor Howard. The custodial part will be six years and eight months, which will be followed by an extension period of four years on licence.

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

“Daryl Howard, you have pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to murder your mother in the course a very brutal persistent attack.

“From the circumstances disclosed at a previous hearing, it was clear that you were determined to kill her and, had it not been for the arrival of the police and immediate medical intervention by paramedics, you would have been facing a murder charge. 

“Your mother suffered life-threatening disfiguring injuries.  Her injuries were so severe that she had to be resuscitated by paramedics before being taken to hospital.

“Your explanation for the attack appears to be that your mother was, to use your words, ‘hassling’ you about the state of your grandmother’s house where you were living at the time, although I note that it was obvious that you were in some mental distress at the time.

“I have been provided with a number of detailed reports from a social worker, psychologist and psychiatrists. You have a history of some mental health issues as well as a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

“Several continuations have been requested to enable those representing you to investigate whether you have a mental disorder which would lead to a mental health disposal in this case. I have a number of reports before me.

“While in custody for some months you have not received any treatment or medication and you have been seen on a regular basis by a psychiatrist who has come to the view that you do not suffer from any mental disorder of a nature or degree such as to warrant admission to hospital and treatment in terms of the Mental Health (Care and Treatment)(Scotland) Act 2003.

“You appear, currently, to be mentally well. It is acknowledged by your counsel that a custodial option is the only appropriate disposal in this case.

“You appear as a first offender. You have pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. You have expressed shame and remorse for what you did, as inexplicable as it was.

“I do not agree with the assessment by the social worker that you planned to do what you did although she has expressed concerns as to your apparent lack of empathy and victim awareness.

“As I have acknowledged and, as is clear from the circumstances disclosed in the agreed narrative, you were in some mental distress at the time of this offence and whether that was because of your previous abuse of intoxicating substances or other mental health issues has not been clarified in the various reports before me. 

“What is notable however is that you had been refusing to engage with the various services, including mental health services, who were trying to help you. That is a particular concern in view of the level of violence which you used when you almost killed your mother.

“In view of the brutal and senseless nature of this attack and, having regard to your history, the risk which you clearly present in the future, I am of the view that an extended sentence is appropriate in this case. That will have the dual effect of supporting you for a longer period after your release from custody and of protecting the public by ensuring that you engage with that extended supervision.

“Having decided on that disposal and in view of your personal circumstances, including your mental state immediately prior to this assault and your lack of previous convictions, I shall impose a lesser custodial sentence than I would have otherwise imposed. I shall also reduce the custodial part by one third due to your early plea. The sentence will be backdated to 24 October 2017 when you were first remanded in custody.

“Accordingly the custodial part of the sentence would have been 10 years but for the plea. I shall reduce that by a third to six years and eight months. I shall extend that by a further four years' post release supervision.”