HMA v CRAIG MORGAN

At the High Court in Edinburgh Lord Woolman imposed an extended sentence on Craig Morgan after he pled guilty to assault on 11 April 2010 in Glasgow. The custodial part of the sentence will be six years followed by a extended period on licence of three years.

On sentencing Lord Woolman made the following statement in court:

“Prior to 11 April 2010, Patrick McManus was a fit, vigorous man. He worked full time as a shop fitter. He led a full life. Previously, he had been in the army for 17 years, including a period as a physical training instructor.

In the course of your attack on him, you stabbed him at least 6 times. Among other injuries, his liver was lacerated and his 6th rib fractured. Most serious of all, his back was fractured and his spinal chord damaged. He has paraplegia and requires to spend most of the time in a wheelchair or on crutches.

Initially both his legs were paralysed. He has received a great deal of medical treatment, both as an inpatient and as an outpatient. He continues to suffer from pain and has problems with his bowel and bladder.

It can therefore be said that your attack on Mr McManus has had devastating consequences. Every aspect of his life has been affected. He can no longer work, have sexual intercourse, or look after himself independently. He is in debt. These changes have profoundly affected his mental state. You have destroyed the quality of his life.

There are other features of the crime that aggravate its gravity:

• you went to Mr McManus’ house at 5am and entered uninvited
• you did not leave when told to do so
• you continually asked him for a ‘square go’, which he refused
• then as you were leaving the house, you picked up a knife from his kitchen and stabbed him
• he was unarmed
• the first blow was to his back
• you continued to stab him until he collapsed and lost consciousness

You have two prior convictions, but I accept that they are minor in nature. However the author of the social enquiry report assesses you present a significant risk in the community.


 In mitigation, I take into account that

a) you are a young man, now only just 21 years of age
b) there was a  history of ill feeling between you the complainer
c) you believed he had assaulted your aunt some months before
d) on the night before the attack, he came to your house armed with a golf club and a knife and threatened you, although no blows were exchanged on that occasion
e) you have expressed genuine remorse

The courts must send out a simple and clear message. The use of knives will not be tolerated. This case provides a graphic example of the consequences which can ensue.

If you had been convicted after trial, I would have sentenced you to an extended sentence of 8 years imprisonment, with a period of three years supervision on your release. The sentence would have been higher, but for your young age and lack of record.

I shall discount the custodial part of the sentence to reflect your plea of guilty. That recognises in particular that you avoided the unnecessary distress of a trial to Mr McManus. As you pled before the first preliminary hearing, I shall grant you a discount of one quarter. Accordingly, the sentence is one of 6 years imprisonment. It is not appropriate to discount the extension period and it will remain at 3 years.

The sentence will be backdated to 2 February 2011, when you were first taken into custody in respect of this matter”.