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HMA v Colin Sangster and Alexander Sangster


Mar 15, 2021

At the High Court in Edinburgh today Lord Beckett imposed sentences on Colin Sangster and Alexander Sangster after both accused were found guilty of attempted murder by driving a car. An extended sentence was imposed on Alexander Sangster of 13 years and 6 months with a custodial term of 10 years and 6 months to run consecutively to a sentence he is currently serving. Colin Sangster was sentenced to 8 years and 4 months imprisonment.

On sentencing Lord Beckett made the following statement in court:

“I take account of everything said in mitigation on behalf of each of you and the content of the respective reports.

However, this was an extremely serious example of attempted murder. After an altercation, you sought out those on the other side and you looked for them in a car and then deliberately pursued the complainer as he ran away from you, drove onto a pavement and at about 30 mph drove into him sending him flying. In wicked hands such as yours, your sister’s car became a brutal weapon.

By deliberately striking the complainer with your car you could easily have killed him. As it is you caused multiple severe injuries to his legs which required surgery and extensive treatment thereafter. He is permanently scarred and impaired and that impairment has had a truly profound impact on his way of life which is described in painful detail in an articulate and harrowing victim statement of which I must take account.

A man who was doing nothing wrong whatsoever when you and others encountered him by chance is now impaired in his work which has had considerable financial impact on him and his family. He has lost the ability to continue with his sporting activities and is inhibited in what he can do with his children. All of this has had a severe psychological impact. His lifestyle has been radically reduced by the consequences of what you did and he is left with them for the rest of his life.

For such an appalling crime, there is no suitable alternative to a substantial sentence of imprisonment in order to punish you, to seek to deter you and others from using cars as weapons to commit assaults, and to protect the public from you.

You Colin Sangster are a virtual first offender which is the only significant mitigation in your case. However, I note that you were subject to restrictive bail conditions including a curfew for more than a year.

Whilst you were no doubt acting at the behest of your brother, you were the driver who directly caused these awful injuries and consequences.

There is no suitable alternative to a sentence of imprisonment for such a serious crime. You will go to prison for 8 years and 4 months backdated to 15 January 2021.

Since a car was used to commit the offence, section 248 of the Criminal Procedure (Scotland) Act 1995 applies.  An appropriate period would be for 5 years but because of the effect of the section 248D of that act, I must include an extension of the disqualification to take account of your period in prison. You are disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 9 years and your licence is endorsed.

Whilst you Alexander Sangster did not drive, you were the driving force behind the commission of this crime which you committed whilst on bail. I take account of your being 24 years old at the time of this crime. You have an extensive criminal record since 2011 which includes dangerous driving, various other road traffic offences and serious crimes of dishonesty and violence. You have been convicted of assault in 2011, 2012 and in 2015 on indictment you were sentenced to 3 years detention with a supervised release order for two crimes of robbery involving the use of a knife. In 2017 you were sentenced to imprisonment for 37 months for seven crimes of dishonesty which include four charges of stealing a car. You were subject to early release when you committed this crime. Your record shows that you have frequently broken bail conditions.

Taking account of your criminal record, the contents of the report and the whole circumstances, I am concerned to protect the public from serious harm from you and I do not consider that normal licence conditions would be sufficient to protect the public from serious harm from you. In your case I am going to pass on you an extended sentence comprising a custodial term and an extension period during which you will be subject to licence conditions. If you break them, you can be returned to prison.

Given the different nature of the crime, and some progress while you were on licence, and I refer to your obtaining employment, I will refrain from imposing a return order as I might otherwise have done. You have been serving a sentence throughout your remand so sentence will not be backdated. It will commence on the expiry of the sentence that you are currently serving. 

In your case, I impose an extended sentence for 13 years and 6 months, from the expiry of your current sentence which I am told is 10 September 2021 but the prison will work that out. That is made up of a custodial term of 10 years and 6 months to include 6 months for the bail aggravation and an extension period of 3 years. If you fail to comply with your licence conditions you can be recalled to prison.

Again, starting from a notional disqualification period of 5 years, and giving effect to section 248D, you are disqualified from holding or obtaining a driving licence for 10 years and 3 months and your licence is endorsed. “