HMA v WILLIAM STUART CRAWFORD

At the High Court in Dumbarton Lord Uist imposed a life sentence on William Stuart Crawford after he was found guilty of the murder of Scott Adams in Clydebank on 18 July 2010. The punishment part of the sentence was set at 18 years.

On sentencing Lord Uist made the following statement in court:

"You pleaded guilty on the fourth day of your trial to the murder of Scott Adams, a 20 year old man, in Clydebank on the 18 July last year by stabbing him to a depth of approximately 12 cm in the chest and into the heart, as a result of which he died almost immediately. When the trial began last week you pleaded not guilty and blamed a Crown witness, Stephen Nicholson, for the murder. It was only after seven other Crown witnesses had given evidence and he had completed his evidence-in-chief that you admitted your responsibility for the murder. You committed this senseless murder shortly after leaving your own house carrying a knife. Had you not been carrying a knife you could not have committed the crime. You afterwards disposed of the knife, which has never been found. The parents of your victim have been devastated by the loss of their son, who was their only child. This case is yet another example of the type of knife crime which is the scourge of Scotland involving the tragic and wholly needless loss of a young life because someone decided to carry a knife in a public street and then proceeded to use it.

You are now 22 years of age. You have a criminal record dating from August 2005 to October 2006 consisting of 11 separate court appearances. You have repeatedly offended while on bail and have breached a probation order. Your most significant conviction is that on 2 March 2006 at Dumbarton Sheriff Court when you were convicted of assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life while you were on bail and sentenced to four years six months detention. You were on licence from that sentence at the time you committed this murder. I have been told that that crime was committed on 9 March 2006 when you were only 17 years old and consisted of your stabbing your then victim three times with a knife which you were carrying in a public place.

The sentence for murder is fixed by law and I must now pronounce that sentence. I sentence you to imprisonment for life. I must also fix the punishment part of your sentence, being the period which you must spend in full in custody in order to satisfy the requirements of retribution and deterrence before you can apply to the Parole Board to be released on licence. In light of your criminal record, particularly your previous conviction in March 2006 for assault by stabbing, the circumstances of this murder, the fact that you were on licence for a crime of violence at the time that you committed it and that you publicly blamed an entirely innocent man for having committed it, I fix the punishment part of your sentence at 18 years. Your sentence will run from 22 September 2010. I should make clear that it does not necessarily follow that you will be released once you have served 18 years in prison. You will be released only when the Parole Board considers it no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you remain in prison."