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HMA v Keith John Stevenson


Jan 11, 2024

At the High Court in Edinburgh today, Lord Arthurson sentenced Keith John Stevenson to 12 years in prison for attempted murder.

On sentencing Lord Arthurson told Stevenson:

“Keith John Stevenson, this morning at a trial diet prior to the empanelling in court of the balloted jurors you tendered a plea of guilty to a charge of assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of life and attempted murder.  

The offence occurred at HMP Edinburgh on 4 August 2022.  Your victim was a fellow serving prisoner, who was on that date seated beside the perimeter fence of a prison exercise yard. You had concealed on your person two pieces of wood, each with an embedded razor blade. You approached your victim from behind, stood over and behind him and struck him on the neck with these weapons. Your victim was taken by ambulance to the Emergency Department of the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. His neck injuries were treated by stitching and stapling. The agreed narrative read to the Court records that medical opinion was to the effect that the injuries sustained had the potential to be serious or life threatening and will likely result in scarring. One injury created an active arterial ooze from a superficial subcutaneous arteriole. In addition a CT scan disclosed a small superficial laceration to the right parotid gland which was breaching the right platysma muscle and was close to the right external jugular vein.

You have a dreadful criminal record.  To date you have accrued 17 groups of previous convictions and served 11 custodial sentences.  You have convictions for the possession of weapons, namely a screwdriver and a knife.  You have four prior convictions on indictment, three at High Court Level.  In 1998 at Edinburgh High Court you were convicted of assault to severe injury and danger of life and sentenced to a period of 6 years imprisonment.  In 2002, also at Edinburgh High Court, you were convicted of assault with intent to rob and sentenced to a period of 4 years imprisonment, together with a section 16 recall period and an extension period of 3 years.  In 2016, also at Edinburgh High Court, you were convicted of the crime of rape, contrary to section 1 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009, and in due course you were on 3 November 2016 at Glasgow High Court made subject to an Order for Lifelong Restriction, with a 5 year punishment part, backdated to 20 March 2015.

You are now aged 47.  I have listened with care to the submissions advanced on your behalf this afternoon by your counsel.  I note in particular what has been said regarding the particular background of this incident, including threats made against you by your victim.

You will well appreciate that the only possible disposal in this case requires to be a very substantial custodial one.  Using improvised bladed weapons you launched a murderous attack from behind upon a fellow prisoner in a custodial setting.  Standing the context of your appalling record for crimes of violence, and taking into account the whole circumstances before me, I now sentence you to serve on charge one on this indictment a period of 12 years imprisonment.

The unempanelled balloted jurors were in court this morning when your plea was tendered and the Crown witnesses were as I understand matters available to give their evidence.  The plea coming at that very late stage renders its utility so negligible that in the exercise of my discretion I decline to apply any discount to this disposal.

Finally, and for the avoidance of doubt, I confirm that this sentence will run from today.”