HMA v William Turner

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 20 March 2019, Lord Armstrong sentenced William Turner to 12 years’ imprisonment after the accused was found guilty of several charges of rape.

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

“William Turner, you have been convicted of six charges which involved the repeated rape of a woman, repeated rape in relation to another complainer, and the rape on one occasion of another young woman.

“These events took place between 1980 and 2001, during which period you were between about 24 and 45 years of age. You are now 63 years old.

“The evidence at your trial was that, over some 20 years, you repeatedly and regularly, on a weekly basis, raped the first complainer, using force and violence against her.

“During that same period, for some 11 years, you repeatedly raped the second complainer, taking advantage of her in her workplace.

“Her evidence was that she was scared of you, that she lost count of the number of times she said ‘no’, and she described your repeated conduct against her as  ‘a vicious routine’.

“During the period when you were sexually abusing the second complainer, you raped another young woman in the same workplace.

“I have had regard to the content of the criminal justice social work report now made available to me, and I have taken account of what has been said on your behalf. 

“I also acknowledge that these crimes, having occurred many years ago, are now historical, that you have not since these events come to the attention of the authorities, and that you have had a good work record, having been in employment all your life, until your retirement.

“I have noted the details of your whole personal circumstances. I have noted the terms of the two testimonial letters now made available to me.

“I note that you have the continuing support of your present family.

“I take into account that you are now assessed as being at low risk of re-offending, and that you have in the past contributed positively to society.

“For these purposes, on the basis that they are not analogous to what I am considering, I attach little weight to the fact of your previous convictions. However, I do note that you continue to take no responsibility for the crimes of which you now stand convicted, and lack any insight into the effect of your crimes on the women concerned.

“I have read and noted the terms of a victim impact statement provided by the first complainer, from which it is clear that your criminal actions, perpetrated against her, have had continuing and devastating effect on the quality of her life. She continues to suffer pain from injuries inflicted on her by you, suffers from anxiety and loss of self-confidence, and is, in consequence, unable to work.

“These crimes of which you have been convicted, rape in particular, are disturbing and grave. Society has an abhorrence of such conduct and it is the responsibility of the court to reflect that. 

“It is important that those who might be disposed to commit crimes of sexual abuse against women, in the way that you did, understand that they are likely to receive significant custodial penalties once brought to justice. I am satisfied that, in your case, there is no appropriate alternative disposal to one of imprisonment.

“I have already made an order that you be subject to the notification requirements of the Sexual Offences Act 2003.  In light of the sentence I am about to impose, that requirement will be continued for an indefinite period of time.  The clerk of court will provide you with a notice of the requirements with which you must comply.

“Although the charges of rape of which you have been convicted involved three different women, they comprise, essentially, a single course of conduct, and I will sentence you on that basis by imposing a single cumulo period of imprisonment which appropriately reflects the totality of your criminality in those respects. 

“Accordingly in relation to charges 2, 6 and 16, the charges of rape, having regard to all of the circumstances of your case, including the facts that you committed these crimes many years ago, your relatively good record otherwise, and your age, but also taking due account of the repeated nature of the crimes concerned in charges 2 and 6, and the lengthy periods over which they were committed, exercising such leniency as I can, commensurate with my public duty, the sentence that I now impose on you in relation to these charges, is one of a period of imprisonment of 12 years.

“In relation to charges 9 and 10, which together involved repeated and regular rape over a period of some 11 years, during the major part of which time, I accept, the young woman concerned was over 16 years of age, and again, taking the same factors into account, I impose on you in relation to these two charges, reflecting the totality of your criminality in those respects, a single cumulo sentence of a period of imprisonment of five years.

“In relation to charge 7, which involved indecent sexually penetrative conduct by you towards an older child, I sentence you to a period of imprisonment of two years. The sentences which I have imposed in respect of charge 7 and charges 9 and 10 will be served concurrently with that imposed in respect of charges 2, 6 and 16.

“Accordingly, the total sentence I am imposing on you is one of a period of imprisonment of 12 years. That sentence will be backdated to 19 February 2019 when you were first detained in custody in relation to these charges.”