The killers of Arbroath oil worker Steven Donaldson were “callous” and “manipulative” in carrying out the brutal attack, judges have ruled in turning down their appeals.
Callum Davidson, 24, and Tasmin Glass, 20, both had their appeals refused by High Court judge Lord Brodie after being convicted of Mr Donaldson’s killing in May this year.
Davidson and 24-year-old co-conspirator Steven Dickie were given life sentences for murdering Mr Donaldson between June 6 and June 7 last year.
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The pair attacked him at the Peter Pan play park and thereafter drove him to the Loch of Kinnordy nature reserve, where they attacked him again before dragging him to his car and setting it alight.
Glass was jailed for 10 years after setting the fatal honeytrap into which Mr Donaldson was lured under the pretence of talking about their relationship.
She had been seeing Dickie behind Mr Donaldson’s back before the killing, and was pregnant with Mr Donaldson’s child.
The decision to refuse the appeals was reported in the Tele on November 15, the same day that Dickie was found dead at HMP Perth. However, newly released documents have shed light on the decision by appeal judges to keep them locked up.
Both appeals were heard by Lord Brodie, Lord Drummond Young and Lord Turnbull, with Lord Brodie delivering the final opinion of the court.
Advocate Tim Niven-Smith, for Glass, argued that she had accepted that she knew an attack was to take place – albeit not one with bladed weapons with fatal consequences.
However, the judges agreed with the assessment made by trial judge Lord Pentland that Glass had been “intensely involved” in the plan and had a “manipulative and devious personality”.
In the published judgement, Lord Brodie wrote: “The appellant comes from a good background. She has a supportive family. She has no previous convictions. She has a talent for music. She is the mother of a young child. She is still only 20 years of age.
“Nevertheless, she has been convicted of what the trial judge was fully entitled to describe as a serious offence of culpable homicide. Her sentence must reflect that. The appeal is refused.”
Unlike Glass, who accepted her guilt and appealed only against her sentence, Davidson had initially sought to overturn his conviction but was only given leave to appeal his life sentence, of which he would serve a minimum of 24 years.
Advocate Brian McConnachie QC argued that the sentence was “excessive”. The appeal judges were not persuaded.
Lord Brodie wrote: “We would accept…that 24 years is a substantial period of time to serve in custody before there can be any question of release on licence.
“It is a period appropriate to the more serious, albeit not the most serious, cases of murder. This, in our opinion, was such a case.
“The appellant has demonstrated no victim empathy or remorse. The author of the criminal justice social work report viewed him as displaying a callous disregard for the impact of his actions.
“There is nothing by way of mitigation in the appellant’s attitude to what the jury found him to have done. The appeal against sentence is refused.”