Killers Tasmin Glass and Callum Davidson have had appeals against their sentences rejected by judges in Edinburgh.
Glass, 20, and Davidson, 24, had complained the sentences imposed on them for the killing of Steven Donaldson at the Kinnordy nature reserve near Kirriemuir were excessive, but their legal challenges were rejected by judges at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.
The verdict came on the same day their accomplice Steven Dickie was found dead in his cell at Perth Prison.
Davidson and Dickie, 24, were jailed for life for murdering Mr Donaldson in June 2018. Glass, who also originally faced a murder charge, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment after she was convicted of the lesser offence of culpable homicide for her role in the brutal killing of her former boyfriend.
Mr Donaldson, 27, from Arbroath, was found dead at a car park at the Angus beauty spot on June 7 last year after he was subjected to “extreme violence” by Dickie and Donaldson.
The trial judge, Lord Pentland, told both men that they were “cold-blooded, violent and unrepentant”.
Davidson was ordered to serve a minimum term of 24 years before he can apply for parole under a life sentence and Dickie was told he would be in jail for at least 23 years during a life sentence, following a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh.
Davidson’s counsel, Brian McConnachie QC, told appeal judges that the 24 year minimum term, known as a punishment part, was “excessive” and resulted in a miscarriage of justice.
Mr McConnachie pointed out that in a major previous appeal case on sentencing in murder cases it was indicated 16 years was the starting point for such offences involving the use of a knife.
“Having regard to his age in the sense that he is still a relatively young man, the fact that while he had a record, it was not by any manner of means the worst this court has seen, to impose a punishment part, not just in excess of what effectively is the minimum also half as much again, is, in my submission, excessive.” he said.
Mr McConnachie added that although there was a degree of planning involved in the crime there was not “significant premeditation”.
Gordon Jackson QC, acting on behalf of Glass, said: “There is no basis to conclude that she knew about the weapons, other than the baseball bat.
“We know, as a matter of fact, what resulted in the death of the deceased was not an assault with a baseball bat,” he said.
Mr Jackson said Glass was a first offender and it was considered she was unlikely to re-offend. Lord Brodie, who heard the appeals with Lord Drummond Young and Lord Turnbull, said the court would give its full reasons in writing later.
He said: “However, we have been able to come to a conclusion in relation to each appeal.”
Taking account of the circumstances of the offence and the offender in Davidson’s case as well as everything said on his behalf, the judges were not satisfied that the 24 year term was excessive.
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As both appeals were refused, Lord Brodie said in the case of Glass: “We have concluded the sentence was not excessive and was within the scope of the sentencing judge’s discretion.”
Following the decision, Mr Donaldson’s sister Lori said: “We are glad the appeal was rejected, we were in agreement with the sentencing at the beginning and we are glad that will still stand.
“It was horrible seeing them again, horrible having to go through it again but actually we are just glad it’s done, we are glad that we’ve got the outcome that we wanted.
“It feels like its drawn a line under the court process – which is massive for us because we have spent a lot of time at court because of this.”
His mum Pam added: “We won’t ever be able to move on but I mean that’s the process of the court, we’ve just got to go with that. We are happy with the result today.”
In Kirriemuir, workers and residents said the appeals had brought everything back into the public eye months after the trio were sentenced for the horrific killing of Mr Donaldson.
Many said they had “no sympathy” for the natives involved in the slaying of Steven Donaldson in June of last year.
Sympathies for Donaldson’s family remained strong across the community. One man said: “I was amazed the pair had the nerve to appeal their sentences.
“The lack of remorse they appear to be showing is really unchristian-like and I hope in all honestly the sentences increase for the pair of them.”
Another worker in the centre said police officers from Glasgow had been involved with the investigation.
She claimed even they had been shocked by the “brutality” used in the killing of the oil worker.
She added: “Seeing all this play out the way it has, it’s like something you’d expect to hear about in America not a quiet town like Kirriemuir.
“Police came in from the west coast and they told us they’d never seen anything like the brutality. That’s how bad it must have been.”
“I feel so sorry for the Donaldson family in all of this.
“If that was my son that had been killed I‘d see those monster faces everyday – they’ll never be able to forgive or forget.”