HMA v Clark William Shaw

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 29 March 2019, Lady Rae sentenced Clark William Shaw to 14 years’ imprisonment, after the offender pleaded guilty to the culpable homicide of a 49 year old man in his own home.

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

“You have pleaded guilty in the course of a trial to the culpable homicide of a 49 year old man in his own home, a home in which he lived with his now deceased mother and his fiancée.  It is said that you entered the house to assist your wife’s father, who was formerly married to the deceased’s mother, in order to retrieve personal possessions from the home, after the death of his wife.

This was a second visit to the house because, unknown to the deceased you had previously entered the house to retrieve televisions which apparently belonged to your father in law.

It is concerning to note that you and 2 others saw fit to enter the house by the back door.  The circumstances were such that you must have known that someone was in the house as entry could not be gained by the front door because the key to that door was obviously still in the lock.

After entering, when you heard the deceased coming downstairs, you armed yourself with a knife.  Your reason appears to be that you were fearful of the deceased because of a reputation about which there has been no evidence, other than that he stood up for himself.  In the ensuing struggle you stabbed him 3 times.  Your position is that you did not mean to kill him. 

In accepting the plea to culpable homicide, the Crown accept there was no intent to kill.  That may be the case and, to be clear, I do not intend to go behind any decision by the Crown.  That is a matter for the crown and the crown alone.

But this is still a very serious matter. 

You caused the death of another human being and a family has lost a loved one. That is very clear from a reading of the victim impact statements.

You are no stranger to violence although your record is some time ago.  I cannot ignore however that you were convicted in 2001 of carrying an offensive weapon. In 2002 you were convicted, albeit in the Sheriff Court, of attempted murder and I am informed a knife and screwdriver were involved.

I shall have regard to all of what has been said on your behalf.

In all of the circumstances of this case I am of the view that a lengthy sentence of imprisonment is appropriate. The sentence will be backdated to 17 July 2018 when you were first remanded in custody. You will be sentenced to 14 years imprisonment."