HMA v Reece Ford

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 19 July 2018, Lord Pentland imposed an extended sentence of 13 years on Reece Ford after the accused pled guilty to the repeated rape of two children. The custodial term will 10 years, which will be followed by an extension period of three years on licence.

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

“Reece Ford, you have pled guilty to two extremely serious offences extending to the repeated rape of two young children over a period of several months in 2017.

“The children were in your care at the material time; they were in their home. Their mother trusted you to look after them. That was a trust that you utterly betrayed.

“The victim impact information explains, in clear and detailed terms, the devastating effects your wicked conduct has had on the victims and their family.

“The constructive criminal justice social work report assesses you as presenting a high risk of sexual reoffending. It notes that you appear to be sexually attracted to prepubescent children.

“You admitted abusing the children on between seven and ten occasions. You accepted that your motive was sexual gratification. From your own description, the nature of the abuse appeared to have been escalating in severity.

“Whilst I note what was said on your behalf today, it is extremely concerning that you provided to the author of the report an account of events which attempted to place some degree of responsibility for your conduct on your victims.

“You are 23 years of age and have no previous convictions. You appear to be a weak and inadequate young man.

“I have taken account of all that has been said today on your behalf about your background and family history. Your personal difficulties cannot, however, in any way excuse or mitigate the gravity of your crimes.

“I am satisfied that an extended sentence is necessary for the protection of the public from serious harm in view of the risk that you present to young children. 

“Society has an abhorrence of the sexual abuse of children and it is incumbent on the court to reflect that in the approach it takes towards sentencing sexual offenders.

“In your case I consider that there are many aggravating factors: your gross breach of trust; the young ages of your victims; the persistence of the abuse; and its penetrative nature.

“Had I been imposing sentence after trial, I would have sentenced you to a custodial term of 15 years with an extension part of three years. In view of your guilty plea tendered at an early stage, I shall discount the custodial element to 10 years in line with normal practice. This is a cumulo sentence imposed in respect of both charges on the indictment.

“During the extension period you will be subject to a licence. The purpose of the licence will be to ensure that you are appropriately monitored and supervised upon your eventual release from custody and that a robust risk management strategy is put in place for the protection of the public. If you fail to comply with the conditions of the licence it may be revoked, and you are liable to be returned to custody.

“I will backdate the extended sentence to 7 June 2018 when you were remanded in custody after pleading guilty. You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for the remainder of your life. Your name has been added to the list of persons deemed unsuitable to work with children and other vulnerable persons.”