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HMA v Kelly & McLaughlin


Jan 19, 2023

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Summers sentenced Brian Kelly to six years' imprisonment after he was convicted of two assaults, attempted robbery and robbery. Lord Summers also sentenced Ross McLaughlin to two years and six months' imprisonment after he was also convicted of assault.

On Sentencing, Lord Summers said:

"Mr Kelly was convicted unanimously by the jury in Glasgow High Court of two charges of assault. The first was associated with an attempted robbery. The robbery failed because Rachel Hamilton resisted his attempts to pull her from her car and take the key fob. Mr Kelly and his associates were also frustrated by the efforts of a delivery driver. He saw the commotion around Rachel Hamilton’s Mini while walking through the car park and intervened. This brought the episode to an end and Mr Kelly ran off together with his associates.  But for Mr Armstrong’s intervention it is likely that a more serious crime would have been committed.

It was a nasty assault. Mr Kelly bit Rachel Hamilton’s thumb it would appear in an attempt to get her to relinquish the key fob. Blood from her injury was found on the driver side car door.

A short time later Mr Kelly was involved in another similar episode, this time involving a Renault Clio and another woman, Heather Irving. She had completed a call in a neighbouring housing estate to check on the welfare of an elderly couple, when Mr Kelly and two others forced her car door open and dragged her out. On this occasion he and the others were able to drive the car a short distance but because Heather Irving who was by now some distance away from the car had the electronic ignition card, the engine failed after driving a short distance and the car was left abandoned in the street.

I am not disposed to draw much distinction between the attempted robbery and the robbery for sentencing purposes since in neither case was Mr Kelly or his associates able to get away with the car.  One remained stationary and the other moved a short distance.  The only property that was taken away was the Mini fob which was recovered from a garden in the neighbouring estate.

I decided to sentence both charges together. Both were similar and took place within a short time of one another. The assaults and robberies both took place in public spaces. One in a car park and the other a public street. Both involved females – one at the start of a shopping trip to Asda and the other while engaged in her employment.  Fortunately neither suffered a serious injury. Both were obviously badly shaken by their experience.

Mr Kelly has an appalling record of criminal convictions. In light of this and the other factors referred to above, I sentenced him to six years imprisonment.

His co-accused was Mr McLaughlin. He was acquitted of the first charge and convicted of the second charge. Although this too was a terrifying assault and involved Heather Irving being pulled by the hair, it did not involve a physical injury of the sort suffered by Rachel Hamilton. With an eye on comparative justice and acknowledging that his criminal record was not nearly as extensive as Mr Kelly’s, having regard to his difficult domestic circumstances and personal difficulties, I sentenced him to two years and six months imprisonment. That sentence is to take effect from today’s date."