Glasgow & West Scotland

Armed killers' 'unjust' sentences reduced after appeal

James Watt
Image caption Mr Watt's body was discovered by his father

Two killers who helped a stranger to carry out a murder in Glasgow have had their sentences cut.

Lee Noonan, 22, Robbie Brown, 19, and Paul Green, 31, used knives and a golf club to attack James Watt in his flat.

The three men were sentenced to life imprisonment following a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh in January.

But lawyers for Noonan and Brown told the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh that the punishment parts imposed on their clients were unjust.

They argued that they did not take into account the young ages of their clients.

Pickaxe handle

The lawyers claimed that other young people who had been convicted of similar crimes had been given punishment parts which had not been as lengthy as the ones given to the two accused.

In a written judgement issued by the appeal court, Scotland's most senior judge Lord Carloway cut Noonan's punishment part from 21 to 18 years.

Lord Carloway, who sat with colleagues Lord Drummond Young and Lord Turnbull, also reduced Brown's punishment part from 18 years five months to 16 years.

The three men originally appealed their convictions for murder but the appeal judges refused to grant their appeals.

Green, who was jailed for 18 years, did not proceed with the sentencing appeal.

Lord Carloway wrote: "When considering lengthy punishment parts, comparative youth must play a significant part in the equation.

"The punishment parts selected are very high for convicted persons of this age, even against a backdrop of other offences and significant criminal records.

"As always in such cases, the court emphasises that it is not recommending or suggesting that any of the appellants should be released upon the expiry of these terms."

The judgement noted that after the expiry of the punishment parts, both men would only be released if the parole board was satisfied.

All three men were found guilty of murder following a trial in December 2018.

'Brutal attack'

At the sentencing hearing, Lord Summers said Mr Watt had been subjected to "a frenzied attack" at his home in Glasgow's Copland Quadrant.

The trial heard Green went looking for him because he believed the 40-year-old had assaulted his father.

Green struck Mr Watt with a pickaxe handle before hooking up with Noonan and Brown later that day and returning to the victim's Ibrox flat to murder him.

Mr Watt was stabbed six times and hit over the head and body with the golf club.

Lord Summers told Noonan he was a "dangerous young man" with "an appalling record" of previous convictions" including many offences involving offensive weapons.

He told Brown, of Edinburgh, he was "a willing participant in a brutal attack" on Mr Watt in February last year.

The trial heard that when Green, from Glasgow, got together with Noonan and Brown they were armed with knives and were looking for three other men in a separate dispute.

Lord Carloway wrote that Lord Summers should not have imposed punishment parts on Noonan and Brown which were so lengthy.

He wrote: "Although both were technically adults, their relative lack of maturity is a significant factor.

"The custodial regimes correctly treat those under 21 differently from those who have reached that milestone in life."

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