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HMA v Ross Ian MacDougall and Dawn Smith


Dec 4, 2020

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Uist sentenced Ross Ian MacDougall and Dawn Smith after they were both found guilty of murder. Ross Ian MacDougall was sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 23 years. Dawn Smith was sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 20 years 2 months.

On sentencing, Lord Uist made the following statement in court:
“You have both been convicted by the jury of the shocking and gruesome murder of Tracy Walker, an innocent 40 year old woman, in Lerwick on 30 July last year. In an attempt to rob her of money so that you could buy controlled drugs you carried out a savage attack on her which included striking her with stones, manual compression of her neck and striking her repeatedly with a knife.  This amounted to a human slaughter. The worst injury which she suffered, and which obviously caused her death, was a 13 cm long gaping incised wound extending horizontally across the front of her neck completely transecting the right jugular vein and the right internal carotid artery and producing two defects in the larynx.
The sentence for murder is fixed by law and that sentence will shortly be imposed on each of you. At the same time I must fix the punishment part of each of your sentences, being the period which you must spend in full in prison before you can apply to the Parole Board for Scotland to be released on licence. The punishment part for each of you must satisfy the requirements for retribution and deterrence taking into account the seriousness of the murder combined with other offences of which you have been convicted on this indictment and your previous convictions while ignoring any period of confinement which may be necessary for the protection of the public.
I now turn to deal with each of you in turn.
 You ROSS IAN MACDOUGALL are now 32 years of age. You have a criminal record consisting of ten separate court appearances between March 2010 and April 2016. In March 2010 you were convicted of assault with a glass and sentenced to a restriction of liberty order.  In December 2015 you pleaded guilty at Inverness Sheriff Court to assault to severe injury and danger of life by stabbing another man and were sentenced in January 2016 to only 16 months imprisonment. In May 2016 you were sentenced to 14 months imprisonment for threatening or abusive behaviour involving a knife and possession of a knife in a public place. Your criminal record, particularly your conviction for assault to severe injury and danger of life, and the commission of this murder by you show that you are an evil man. The aggravations of the crime of murder in your case are your criminal record, the fact that the murder was carried out by you in the course of an attempted robbery, the nature and extent of the violence used, and the steps taken by you afterwards to obtain a false alibi and destroy evidence. On chare 2, the murder charge, I sentence you to imprisonment for life and fix your punishment part at 23 years. On charge 4 I impose a concurrent sentence of 12 months imprisonment and on charge 5 I admonish you. Your sentence will run from 1 August 2019.
You DAWN SMITH are now 29 years of age. You have a criminal record, mainly for crimes of dishonesty, consisting of eleven separate court appearances between July 2008 and September 2019, and have been sentenced to imprisonment on two occasions. You were convicted of possession of a screwdriver and, separately, possession of an axe in March 2019. You encouraged or instigated your co-accused to commit this murder and supplied him with the knife which he used. Your guilt is at least as great as his. The aggravations in your case are your criminal record, the fact that the murder was committed in the course of an attempted robbery insisted upon by you, the nature and extent of the violence used and the fact that you were subject to four bail orders at the time. On charge 1 the sentence which I impose is 12 months imprisonment, concurrent with the sentence on charge 2. On charge 2 I sentence you to imprisonment for life. I consider that the appropriate punishment part in your case is 21 years but I cannot backdate your sentence because your period on remand has been interrupted by sentences of imprisonment totalling 12 months, meaning that you have spent 6 months of your 16 months period of remand serving other sentences. You are therefore entitled to a credit of 10 months on your punishment part based on the period you have already spent on remand. I therefore fix your punishment part at 20 years 2 months. Your sentence will run from today’s date.”


4 December 2020