HMA v Allan Doherty and Weir Mackay

At the High Court in Glasgow today, 29 May 2019, Lady Stacey sentenced Allan Doherty to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 18 years after the accused was found guilty of the murder of Karen Young, while Weir Mackay was sentenced to 14 years' imprisonment for her culpable homicide.

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

“Mr Doherty you were convicted by the jury of the murder of Karen Young. Murder is the most serious crime.

“By your actions a family have been left bereaved. Nothing that I can say or do will lessen the grief that her family and friends feel.

“The evidence which the jury accepted was that you seized hold of her neck and compressed it, restricting her breathing and stuck your hand and a spoon into her throat. What you did was a cause of her death.

“The jury accepted that all of this was because you thought she had taken a packet of controlled drugs which you wanted to get back.

“Your actions caused her life to be lost. You have not admitted what you did. Instead you went to trial saying you had tried to save her when she started to choke.

“I accept from counsel and from the report that you regret her losing her life, even though you do not accept that you murdered her. You realise you must accept the verdict of the jury.

“The sentence for murder is prescribed by parliament as imprisonment for life which is the sentence I now impose on you.

“I am required to fix the punishment part which is the period which must be served before you can be considered by the Parole Board for release on licence.

“It does not mean that you will be released at the end of the punishment part. Rather it is the period that must elapse before you can apply for release on licence. If you are released at some time in future you will always remain on licence.

“You have a poor record having appeared before the court on many occasions. You have seven convictions for assault including two to severe injury and permanent disfigurement. It is clear that you have led a violent life.

“I note from all that has been helpfully said on your behalf by counsel and in the criminal justice social work report.  You have had a supportive mother but have abused controlled drugs for a long time. You have been helped by a drugs worker but have not been stable.

“In light of all the circumstances the punishment part will be 18 years which will be backdated to 3 May 2019 when you were remanded in custody.

“Mr Mackay you were found guilty by the jury of the culpable homicide of Karen Young.

“They found that you were involved in blunt force injuries on her head and body which contributed to her death and that you were blameworthy in doing so. Thus the jury found that you must accept blame along with Mr Doherty for Karen Young losing her life.

“She left a bereaved family. As I have said nothing I can do or say can take away the grief they feel.

“The crime of culpable homicide is a serious matter. It is clear from the jury’s verdict that they found you responsible for the loss of life caused by blunt force injuries to the head and body.

“I accept that most of your previous convictions are for offences of dishonesty, but you have a long record of previous convictions including assault, police assault and threatening behaviour, and you have many drug related convictions.

“It is clear from all that I have heard in your counsel's helpful submissions and in the criminal justice social work report that you have been involved with controlled drugs for a long time.

“You have support from your mother and father but you have spent a lot of time in your adult life in custody.

“While you have engaged well with a drugs worker you have still gone on binges with drugs, as apparently happened that day.

“The only appropriate sentence is a lengthy period of imprisonment because you have been found guilty of being involved in the loss of another person’s life.

“It is necessary for me to mark the seriousness of a person’s life being lost. The sentence which I impose is one of 14 years imprisonment backdated to 18 April 2019 when I remanded you in custody.”