HMA v Lawrence Nelson

At the High Court in Livingston today, 12 August, Lord Uist sentenced Lawrence Nelson to 12 years, six months imprisonment after the offender was found guilty of attempted murder and assault to severe injury.

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

You were convicted by the jury of two crimes. The first was the assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of life and attempted murder of Greig Ramsay in a house in Kirkcaldy on 23 December 2018. The second was the assault to severe injury of Mark Christie in the same place and on the same date. Both these crimes were committed while you were subject to a bail order. You, along with two other people, entered the house occupied by Mark Christie in the early hours of the morning, assaulted him downstairs and then went upstairs and carried out a vicious assault on Greig Ramsay, as a result of which he sustained horrific injuries. He suffered a bruise to the left shoulder, a laceration to the scalp, a severe skull fracture under the laceration, cerebral contusions and a subarachnoid haemorrhage (that is, bleeding on the brain) underlying the skull fracture and a fracture to the right cheekbone. At hospital he had to have an emergency operation involving removal of part of the skull in order to repair the bleeding to his brain, leaving a surgical scar 16 centimetres in length. He has been left with a noticeable depression in his skull and will require a further operation to insert a plate under the skin to improve the appearance of the depression. He will be at risk of seizures for life and has been left with cognitive deficits and problems with speech and memory. His injuries have had a profound effect on his quality of life. He is no longer able to work, has weakness down the left side of his body and experiences great difficulty in speaking. Had it not been for medical intervention he would have died. This is how he has described in his own words the effect of the attack upon him:

“The quality of living that I enjoyed prior to the attack may be gone for ever. I have lost the freedom to plan out the course of my own path in life and have to rely heavily on others for even the simplest of undertakings. This will be my life sentence brought about by the cruel and vindictive actions of others.”

Mark Christie was also injured, but not so badly. He sustained swollen eyes, a broken nose, two lacerations next to the right eye, a laceration next to the left eye, a laceration to the right eyelid, a subconjunctival haemorrhage (that is, a broken blood vessel) to the left eye, and possibly corneal trauma, fractures to the lower bones of the eye sockets and double vision. He had to undergo surgery to repair the broken bones to his eye sockets.

Lawlessness of the sort in which you engaged, with such serious consequences for your victims, cannot be tolerated in a civilised society. Had it not been for the skill of the doctors who saved Mr Ramsay’s life you would now be facing a life sentence for murder.

You are now 28 years old. Your criminal record discloses five previous court appearances, none of which has resulted in a custodial sentence, but you have a conviction in the High Court for assault to injury in January 2008 and have been convicted of breaching bail on three occasions. I have considered the criminal justice social work report on you and all that has been said on your behalf in mitigation, but violence of the sort which you perpetrated must result in a lengthy prison sentence. On charges 1 and 2, taken together, the sentence which I impose is 12 years 6 months imprisonment from 27 December 2018, 6 months of which is attributable to the bail aggravations."