HMA v Peter Blackwood, Mhari Wright and John Green

At the High Court in Livingston today, 16 April 2019, Lord Woolman imposed extended sentences on Peter Blackwood, Mhari Wright and John Green after the three accused were convicted of abduction and assault.

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

“On 24 July 2018, two young men were lured to a flat at 40 Kingsway Court in the Knightswood area of Glasgow. They were then subjected to a frightening ordeal.

“You locked the main door of the flat and made serious, but unfounded, allegations against them. You used a knife, a pole and a dumbbell to terrorise them. Hot candle wax was dripped on to the legs of one victim, then 18.

“The other victim managed to escape, run down eighteen flights of stairs, and contact the police. Listening to his 999 call in court brought home his distress. Indeed, each victim thought that he was going to die that night.

“At a trial at Glasgow High Court last month, the Crown accepted a plea of guilty to amended charges (1) and (2) from Mr Blackwood. The jury convicted Ms Wright and Mr Green of abduction and assault. There are variations in the convictions. Mr Blackwood stands convicted of robbery. Mr Green alone stands convicted of charge (3) – detaining one victim in his own flat after the first part of the incident was over.

“The offences involved a degree of planning. As between Ms Wright and Mr Green it is difficult to apportion precisely who was responsible for luring the first victim to Green’s flat. But there was plainly premeditation in bringing the victim on charge (2) up to the flat.

“I must proceed on the basis of the jury’s verdict, not on your own individual version of events. The jury rejected the suggestion that Mr Blackwood was the sole actor and that Ms Wright and Mr Green were in effect bystanders. It held you collectively responsible.

“I take into account everything contained in the individual Criminal Justice Social Work Reports and what has been said in mitigation. I recognise that each of you has had a broken life.

“In the light of the nature of the crimes and their deep effect on the victims, there is no suitable alternative to a custodial sentence in each case.

“Peter Blackwood, you were the main actor in the events that night.

“You have 17 prior convictions. They make depressing reading. They include attempted murder, robbery, possession of a knife, breach of the peace, possession of cocaine, and breach of bail.

“The criminal justice social work report states that, if you were released at this stage, your ‘attitudes are a real cause for concern, indicating a propensity for serious harm, if not fatal harm’. Having regard to the risk that you present to the public, I shall pass an extended sentence. That will enable the authorities to supervise your eventual reintegration into society.

“If you had not offered to plead guilty to the crimes at an early stage, I would have imposed an extended sentence of 10 years to cover both offences. That would have comprised eight years in prison, plus an extension period of two years.

“Because you acknowledged your guilt and wished to avoid the need for the victims to come to give evidence in court, I shall reduce the custodial element by one quarter. Accordingly, your sentence will be an extended sentence of eight years (six years custody, two years extension).

“The extension period remains the same, as it is there to protect the public. I shall backdate the sentence to 27 July 2018, when you were first taken into custody in respect of this matter.

“Mhari Wright, you played an important role in triggering the events that day. One victim also described you as orchestrating things within the flat. Yet you continued to minimise your role and attempted to shift all the blame to Blackwood when speaking to the author of the criminal justice social work report. Mr Weir states that you have altered your views on further reflection. I hope that is the case. Unless you change your way of life, it is likely that you will reoffend, but that is not an imminent risk.

“I have regard to your personal circumstances, which includes your limited criminal record and the fact that you have four children aged from five to 20. I shall impose an extended sentence of six years (four years custody, two years extension). I will backdate it to 7 March 2019, when you were first taken into custody in respect of this matter. That is a cumulo sentence which covers both offences.

“John Green, despite your young age, you already have a High Court conviction for sexual offences against young children. In 2015 that resulted in an extended sentence of seven years (five years custody, two years extension).

“You were released on licence in June 2018. Just over a month later, you committed the present crimes. In consequence your licence was revoked. Like Wright, you present yourself as effectively a bystander that day. The jury did not accept your account.

“The author of the criminal justice social work report formed the opinion that you are ‘no longer manageable within the community’ and that you present ‘a significantly high risk of committing further offences of both a violent and sexual nature’ unless you engage in intervention-based work.

“I begin by directing that you return to prison for 295 days under s16 of the Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Act 1993.

“In respect of the new offences, I impose an extended sentence of seven years (five years custody, two years extension) to commence on the expiry of the custodial element of your current sentence. It is a cumulo sentence to cover all three charges and includes six months in respect of the bail aggravations. It reflects a deduction of one year to take into account the period you have already spent in custody in respect of this matter.”