HMA v Philip Stephen Warke

At the High Court in Edinburgh today (28 June 2019), Lord Pentland sentenced Philip Stephen Warke to eight years’ imprisonment after the offender was convicted of sexually abusing two teenager boys.

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

“Philip Stephen Warke, the victim impact information supplied by your two victims highlights the traumatic and lasting effects of your sexual abuse of them whilst they were teenage boys. They were left with feelings of guilt, shame and confusion for many years.  They were each emotionally and psychologically damaged. It is to their great credit that they found the courage to come forward so that you could at last be brought to justice for your crimes.

Your offences were aggravated by a considerable number of factors.
First, in relation to each of your victims you were in a position of substantial trust and responsibility. Your victims (and their parents and others in the community) admired, respected, and trusted you. You had something of a charismatic personality and were able to exercise great influence over your victims. All of this you grossly abused.

Second, there was clear evidence of substantial pre-mediation and planning on your part.  This amounted to a sustained campaign of grooming your victims so that you could sexually abuse them. It is no exaggeration to say that you psychologically manipulated these teenage boys with the deliberate intention of abusing them and of attempting to convince them that they were homosexual when they were not. Overall, your conduct demonstrated a high level of deviousness and calculation.

Third, the abuse was sustained and penetrative. It extended over a period of several years. On one occasion you gave one of your victims an unknown substance for the purpose of stupefying or overpowering him. You then proceeded to penetrate his anus with your penis.  

Fourth, there were two victims of your abuse.

Fifth, you have evinced no remorse for your crimes.

So far as mitigating factors are concerned, these are as follows. You have no previous convictions. You are now 63 years of age. The offences occurred in the 1990s. The criminal justice social work report explains that you have experienced a number of difficulties and challenges in your life, both psychological and physical. You are willing to address the underlying causes of your offending behaviour.
Society has an abhorrence of the sexual abuse of children and it is part of the Court’s responsibility to reflect that in selecting the appropriate sentence for sexual offenders. 

It is important that anyone who might be tempted to take advantage of being in a position of trust and responsibility in order to abuse children understands that they are liable to face substantial sentences of imprisonment when brought to justice.

Taking all the relevant considerations into account, the aggravating and the mitigating factors, there is no doubt that the Court must take a very serious view of these offences.  

In respect of charges 1, 2, 4 and 5 on the indictment, I impose a cumulative sentence of 8 years imprisonment. The sentence will be backdated to 27 May 2019. You will remain subject to the notification requirements applicable to sex offenders for the remainder of your life. You will never again be permitted to work with children or other vulnerable persons.”