HMA v THERESA RIGGI

At the High Court in Glasgow Lord Bracadale sentenced Theresa Riggi to 16 years in prison after she pled guilty to the culpable homicide of Augustino, Gianluca and Cecilia Riggi in August 2010 at Slateford Road, Edinburgh.

On sentencing Lord Bracadale made the following statement in court:

You have pled guilty to charges of repeatedly stabbing to death each of your twin sons, Austin and Luke, aged 9 years, and your daughter Cecilia, aged 5 years. 

The result of these acts is a devastating family tragedy.  The father of the children, Pasquale Riggi, and the wider family, have been left utterly bereft by the loss of the children. 

And you, who had a genuine but abnormal and possessive love of your children, have lost them and are brought to this sorry pass.

I accept that it was your intention to commit suicide and that in a number of different ways you attempted to do that.  Indeed, but for the quick thinking and brave action of Mr Jordan Cochrane in breaking your fall when you jumped from the second floor balcony, you might well have succeeded. 

There has been extensive examination of your state of mind by psychiatrists.  You are not mentally ill.  The psychiatrists have agreed that you were suffering from personality disorders which substantially impaired your ability to make decisions.   As a result, the Crown have accepted your plea of guilty to culpable homicide on the basis of diminished responsibility.

Mr Findlay has fully explored the development of the events as you saw them which brought you to the stage where you committed these acts.  

You, and others, must understand that while your responsibility is diminished, you are still responsible for your actions.  The effect of the diminished responsibility is to reduce these crimes from what would have been exceptionally wicked crimes of murder to what are still very serious crimes of culpable homicide.  The number and nature of the stab wounds to each child is indicative of a truly disturbing degree of violence which, in order to bring about the deaths of three children, must have been sustained over a significant period of time.  It is difficult to envisage the physical commission of such acts.  Dr Crichton considers that the degree of violence and the sustained nature of it are inexplicable in terms of your disorder of the mind.

It is clear that any degree of responsibility for such ghastly and grotesque acts must be visited with a lengthy sentence of imprisonment.

I am required to identify the appropriate sentence for these offences and then to consider whether and, if so, to what extent, a discount should be applied to reflect the stage at which you intimated your intention to plead guilty.  I am bound to say that I have found the task of identifying the appropriate sentence particularly difficult, having regard to the nature of the disorder of your mind; the uncertainties recognised by the psychiatrists; and the inexplicable extreme and sustained violence involved.   Taking all the considerations together as best I can I consider that the appropriate sentence for the three charges, taken together, leaving out of account the stage at which you intimated your intention to plead guilty would be one of 18 years imprisonment. 

As to discount, it seems to me that in the light of the facts of the case and the agreement of the views of the psychiatrists the plea of guilty to culpable homicide was inevitable. 

Accordingly, I shall limit the discount to 2 years and pass a sentence of 16 years imprisonment, backdated to 4 August 2010. 

I make a recommendation in terms of section 6(1) of the Immigration Act 1971 for deportation. 

You also become subject to automatic listing in terms of the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007.

Sentencing Statements

HMA v DEREK GRANT

Monday, 1 September, 2014

HMA v JAMES SNEDDON

Monday, 25 August, 2014

HMA v ROSDEEP ADEKOYA

Monday, 25 August, 2014

HMA v MARK BARCLAY aka FRASER

Wednesday, 20 August, 2014

HMA v IAN DONALDSON

Tuesday, 19 August, 2014