HMA v Andrew Wallace

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 8 February 2019, Lady Rae sentenced Andrew Wallace to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 28 years after the accused pled guilty to the murder of Julie Reilly.

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

“Andrew Wallace, you have pleaded guilty to the murder of a vulnerable brain damaged lady who took you into her home. 

“Tragically, it is unclear how you carried out this evil and despicable act because you dismembered her body and it is unknown where her remains are except for part of her legs which were discovered by chance.

“The last sighting of this lady was on 6 February 2018.  After discovering that she had not attended a family celebration and being aware of concerns by family members, a health worker reported her to the police as a missing person. Body parts were only discovered on 19 April 2018.

“What is particularly chilling in this case is that on 30 December 2017, prior to her disappearance, you claimed carer’s allowance, presumably on the basis you were looking after the deceased.

“In the middle of January you sent a text to a friend asking how you could ‘assassinate’ someone and keep your hands clean. These statements present a clear indication that what you did to this poor lady was premeditated. 

“The day after her last sighting, you admitted murdering an unnamed individual. You used an extremely pejorative term when referring to your victim. You also indicated that you needed to get rid of a body.

“I have read the victim impact statements. It is clear that you have caused indescribable suffering to her family. “That suffering is continuing. Not only have family members lost a loved one but due entirely to your actions and in my view your refusal to assist the recovery of her remains they are unable to give her a dignified funeral.

“Before I heard your senior counsel in mitigation I specifically asked him if you would assist in the recovery of your victim’s remains. The response was that, before sentence you would not co-operate but after sentence you would, and I quote, entertain an approach by the police.

“What this displays is a complete lack of remorse on your part. None was expressed and your demeanour in the dock is in my view supportive of the view I have formed.

“You have a significant and serious record of previous convictions covering a variety of offences but mostly for violence, including a conviction for culpable homicide in 1992 when you were sentenced to 10 years’ detention. I understand that the charge of murder was reduced on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

“I understand from your senior counsel that no suggestion of mental illness exists in the present case.

“In 2001 you were convicted of assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement and sentenced on appeal to four years’ imprisonment. In 2010 you were convicted of a domestic assault with the use of scissors and sentenced to two years in prison.

“There are further convictions for assault and carrying a weapon. The final conviction related to firearms offences and being concerned in the supply of drugs.

“You are, in my view, a dangerous man who has a considerable propensity for violence.

“I will have regard to all that was said by your senior counsel in mitigation but this was, in my view, limited to your plea of guilty, albeit it was offered just before the trial. 

“For that I am required to afford you a discount to reflect the utilitarian benefit of avoiding a trial. In the circumstances of this case it will be limited to two years.

“I do not believe you have pleaded to avoid the family experiencing the additional trauma of a trial as was submitted on your behalf.  The best way you could have helped the family was to tell them where you disposed of the remains of their loved one. Your attitude shows what a callous individual you are.

“In respect of charge 4, the murder charge, there is only one sentence which I can impose and that is life imprisonment. I require to make an order setting what is called a punishment part, that is, the minimum period of time that you require to serve in prison to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence.

“Having regard to the gravity of what is contained in charge 5, I intend to take that into account when assessing an appropriate punishment part and I shall increase the period I would otherwise have imposed on charge 4. 

“I am aware that that enhancement must reflect only the elements of retribution and deterrence. That will be reflected by enhancing the punishment part by half of the sentence to be imposed as a concurrent sentence on charge 5.

“The effect of this will be that you will not be eligible for parole or release until the whole of the punishment part has expired. Thereafter it will be for the Parole Board and the Parole Board alone to consider whether you still present a risk to the public, or, whether you can be released on a life licence with appropriate conditions. If you are still considered a serious risk, after the punishment part has expired, you will not be released. 

“On charge 4 you will be sentenced to life imprisonment. In view of your criminal record, the circumstances of the murder and the aggravating factors all as disclosed in the agreed narrative, including the circumstances of charge 5, the punishment part I would have imposed, but for the discount, is 30 years. 

“As I have said I am prepared to discount that by two years. The resultant punishment part is 28 years, backdated to 25 April 2018 when you were first remanded in custody on the murder. On charge 5 I shall impose a concurrent sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment.”