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HMA v Andrew Raymond McLeod


Jan 26, 2023

At the High Court in Glasgow today, Lord Arthurson sentenced Andrew Raymond McLeod to life imprisonment for the murder of John Dalziel. The punishment part, the time spent in prison before becoming eligible for parole, was set at 20 years.

On sentencing, Lord Arthurson said:

"Andrew Raymond McLeod, you have this afternoon been convicted by a jury of the crime of murder.  The jury, on the evidence before it, has concluded that on 6 May 2021 you assaulted Mr John Dalziel at his home in Whitesbridge Avenue, Paisley, that you inflicted blunt force trauma to his head and repeatedly struck him on the neck with a broken plate, and that you thereby murdered him. By this appalling crime you have left Mr Dalziel’s young daughter without her beloved father, a consequence that you should be very much aware of as you are sentenced today.

The piece of broken plate referred to in the libel of the charge was an improvised weapon which was used to inflict a significant incised wound upon Mr Dalziel’s neck.  That wound was 13cm in length and had a depth of up to 4cm.  The wound transected Mr Dalziel’s right anterior jugular vein.  The forensic pathologist in the case described this wound as a slash wound.  A number of abrasions on the left side of the neck showed that there had been attempts to penetrate the deceased’s neck either prior to or after or at the time of the incised wound. In addition, at least four separate sites of impact were located on Mr Dalziel’s head, and a finding of diffuse traumatic axonal brain injury indicated that significant blunt force trauma had been applied in order to damage the brain.  The pathologist identified both the incised neck wound and the blunt force head injury as primary causes of Mr Dalziel’s death, along with alcohol and drug intoxication.  You in this way launched a murderous attack upon Mr Dalziel in his own home, upon what several witnesses referred to as Mr Dalziel’s birthday.  As your former co-accused’s senior counsel put matters when addressing the jury, Mr Dalziel was found lying “slaughtered” in his own living room.

You are now aged 58.  You have accrued to date 18 groups of previous convictions and received nine custodial sentences.  All three of your prior convictions on indictment were at High Court level.  In 1984 you were sentenced to 5 years imprisonment for crimes of violence, and in 2005 you received a total sentence of 9 years imprisonment for the crimes of culpable homicide and attempting to pervert the course of justice.

I have listened to the brief submissions in mitigation advanced on your behalf by your senior counsel, and note what has been said regarding your time in custody to date and the nature of your record since your release in 2011 from the sentence imposed upon you in 2005 in respect of you last High Court conviction.

Turning to disposal, the sentence for the crime of murder is fixed by law and is one of imprisonment for life.  The court also requires to impose, as part of the sentencing exercise, a period known as the punishment part of that sentence.  The punishment part is the number of years which you must serve before you can be considered for release on licence.  You should understand that in setting this tariff the court is not in any sense fixing the time when you will be released; instead, the court is appointing the number of years which must be served by you before you can apply for release.  The punishment part does not take into account the need for public protection.  That important matter is taken into account if and when any application is made by you in due course for your release on licence.  The punishment part does, however, take into account the sentencing requirements of retribution and deterrence.

In selecting an appropriate punishment part I take principally into account the gravity of the crime of murder committed by you in this case.  This was a ferocious and wholly murderous attack, involving an improvised weapon and the application of considerable violence upon a man who had been your friend in his own home.  I also note from your record that you have been convicted previously in this court for a crime involving the taking of a person’s life. I consider there to be no discernible mitigating features in respect of you.

In these circumstances, by way of disposal on charge 1 on this indictment, the charge of murder, I now accordingly pass a sentence on you of imprisonment for life.  The punishment part of that disposal will be set at 20 years.  This sentence will be backdated to the date of your initial remand into custody in these proceedings, namely 25 January 2022."