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HMA v Morton Eadie and others


Feb 9, 2022

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Beckett sentenced four people to life imprisonment after they were found guilty of murder and attempting to defeat the ends of justice.


On sentencing, Lord Beckett made the following statement in Court:

“I have considered what has been said in mitigation on behalf of each of you. I have also considered the evidence led in the trial.

For murder, the punishment is fixed by law and you will be sentenced to life imprisonment.

I must fix the punishment part, which is the period of time you will serve in prison before being considered for parole. In doing so, I must reflect the need to punish you for the crime of murder and to deter you and others from committing murder. The law requires me to ignore any risk that you may pose to the public in the future. This does not mean that you will serve just this period. It will be for the Parole Board to determine when it is safe for you to be released from prison. The question of parole cannot arise before the punishment part has passed.

I must also take account of the seriousness of the crime of murder of which you have been convicted, combined with the other offence on the indictment and your record of previous convictions.

That other crime is the serious crime of attempting to defeat the ends of justice by attempting to destroy a vehicle used in the commission of the crime, and its contents, by setting it on fire.

People who are prepared to engage in such meticulously planned and ruthlessly perpetrated assassinations on the streets of our cities can expect substantial punishment. The Court must seek to deter you and others who would behave in this way.

Charge 5 was plainly planned in advance. It involved the acquisition of stolen cars with false number plates one of which was used to commit the crime and both were used as getaway vehicles. Six shots were fired from an automatic pistol from some distance as the innocent driver of the car sought to reverse as her passenger Kenneth Reilly realised what was happening. One of the six shots struck Mr Reilly in the head causing un-survivable injury from which he died two days later. His family and friends lost him forever.

That was the only bullet which hit the car, passing through the windscreen towards Mr Reilly, and the other shots could have hit anyone. It was 10:21pm and there were still pedestrians about in what is a densely populated area of Glasgow. Whilst the attack was plainly directed at Kenneth Reilly, it showed gross indifference to the safety of the driver and the general public.

Whilst there is a serious and organised crime aggravation, I do not consider it necessary to increase the sentence on that account given the considerations I take account of in passing sentence on the crime of murder.

I will explain what the punishment part is to be, but you should understand that this is not a sentence for the number of years specified, it is the minimum period that you will remain in prison before you can be considered for release on licence from your life sentence.  

In your case Morton Eadie your recent convictions comprise minor road traffic and drugs offences. I do note that you were convicted of assault and assault and robbery in 1985 and sentenced to detention for 3 months and in 2000 were convicted of possession of an offensive weapon. In 1988 on indictment you were sentenced to imprisonment for a year for being concerned in supplying drugs which was your last prison sentence, some 34 years ago.

You are sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 22 years. In your case, taking account of the period for which you were remanded in custody before being allowed bail on 18 March 2021, I order that your sentence commences on 24 October 2020. On charge 6 you are sentenced, concurrently, to 5 years imprisonment, also commencing on 24 October 2020.

You Darren Eadie have a list of convictions between 2010 and 2019. You were convicted of assault to injury in 2011 and admonished. Your remand was interrupted because you have a conviction in 2019 for which you were sentenced to 22 months imprisonment for assault to injury and danger of life using a hammer which I note is a subsequent as opposed to a previous conviction.

I take particular account of your central role in organising and recruiting some of those involved. You are sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 24 years, backdated to 10 January 2020, the date when you were exclusively remanded for these proceedings. On charge 6 you are sentenced, concurrently, to 5 years imprisonment, also backdated.

You Ross Fisher have a number of convictions from 2014 onwards, mostly for road traffic offences and a subsequent conviction for firearms offences which are entirely different in character.

You are sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 22 years, backdated to 3 December 2019. On charge 6 you are sentenced, concurrently, to 5 years imprisonment, also backdated.

You John Kennedy have convictions extending from 2007. Of particular significance is your conviction in 2008 at the High Court in Glasgow when you were sentenced to 54 months imprisonment for firearms offences. It appears that in 2013 again in the High Court you were convicted of firearms offences but no order was made. Your last conviction is a subsequent conviction for driving whilst disqualified for which you were sentenced to imprisonment for 6 months in November 2018.

You are sentenced to life imprisonment with a punishment part of 26 years backdated to 30 November 2019 when you appeared before the court in Spain and were remanded in custody. On charge 6 you are sentenced, concurrently, to 5 years imprisonment, also backdated.”

9 February 2022