HMA v John Patrick Turnbull

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, 24 January 2019, Lord Woolman sentenced John Turnbull to six years’ imprisonment after the accused pled guilty to the rape of a teenage girl. On sentencing, Lord Woolman made the following statement in court:

“Last month you pled guilty to a very serious sexual offence. I shall not rehearse the circumstances. It is enough to say that what you did was vile and abhorrent.

“Your crime has had traumatric and lasting consequences for the teenage victim. Her mother describes it as a life sentence.

“You have no explanation for your conduct. You say you were completely drunk and have no recall of what you did. That is no excuse.

“I take into account everything said on your behalf in mitigation. For the avoidance of doubt, I ignore your road traffic conviction in deciding on punishment.

“I shall grant you a discount of one third to reflect your plea of guilty at the earliest opportunity. That has avoided the need for a trial. In particular, it has meant that the victim has not required to give evidence.

“In selecting the appropriate sentence, I must balance the requirements of retribution, deterrence and rehabilitation.

“If you had not pled guilty, I would have imposed a sentence of nine years. After discount, you will serve a sentence of six years’ imprisonment, backdated to 21 December 2018, when you were first taken into custody.

“I placed you on the Sex Offenders Register on the last occasion. I now direct that you remain on it for an indefinite period.”