Legal bid fail for rapist who carried out kettle attack in Edinburgh prison

A rapist who has carried out a campaign of violence while behind bars has failed in a bid to have his life sentence overturned.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 12:15 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 12:17 pm
Saughton Prison, HMP Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Saughton Prison, HMP Edinburgh. Picture: Ian Georgeson

John McKinlay, 29, was originally jailed in 2013 for six years after raping two women and committing assaults against females.

While in prison he has launched attacks on other inmates and been subject to disciplinary action on 37 occasions.

He has spent a large part of his time in prison in segregation after he threatened to take a hostage and was deemed a danger to fellow inmates and staff.

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In July, 2016, McKinlay threw hot water from a kettle over a prisoner at HMP Edinburgh. The victim, Paul Murray, suffered eye injuries in the attack and later underwent surgery for a membrane graft.

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Following the attack, McKinlay was handed an order for lifelong restriction at the High Court in Edinburgh by Lord Uist in September.

McKinlay, of Lanark, appealed against the order, which means he can only be freed when the parole authorities decide he is no longer dangerous.

His legal team argued that a psychologist who wrote a report on McKinlay had only met him for 90 minutes and said his behaviour had since improved.

However, Lord Turnbull, sitting with Lord Drummond Young and Lady Dorrian, rejected the appeal bid.

He said: “The appellant has a pattern of violent offending against intimate partners, fellow prisoners and members of the public.

“He has a pattern of sexual offending against adult women in intimate relationships and has repeated these offences when he has been at liberty.

“He has long-standing patterns of substance abuse and his lifestyle has been dominated by a need to maintain a hedonic tone, he has attempted to continue this inside prison.

“He has been at liberty for less than four years in the last 10 years and has continued to offend inside prison. Substantial risk factors associated with both future sexual violence and future nonsexual violence were identified in the use of the relevant risk assessment tools.

“The offences which the appellant committed in prison were noted as being similar to the domestic assaults perpetrated by the appellant in that the victims appeared to be seen by the appellant as criticising him.

“In all these circumstances we are entirely satisfied that the sentencing judge was correct in arriving at the view that the risk criteria were met in the appellant’s case and in concluding that an order for lifelong restriction ought to be imposed.”

A risk assessment on McKinlay said he had ‘psychopathic traits’ and was ‘highly likely to engage in violence in future intimate relationships’.

It further stated that ‘the nature, seriousness and pattern of the appellant’s behaviour indicated an enduring propensity to seriously endanger the lives or physical or psychological well-being of the public at large’.

Sentencing McKinlay, Lord Uist ruled that he must serve two years and three months under the order before he can become eligible to apply for parole.

He told him: “You must not assume you will be released at the end of that period. You will be released only when it is considered no longer necessary for the protection of the public that you continue to be confined in prison.”

Murray was alone in his cell when he heard his name being spoken softly and turned to see a figure throw something towards his face.

He closed his eyes but felt hot liquid hit them and his forehead and yelled out in pain before prison officers came to his aid.

McKinlay was caught on CCTV leaving his own cell in the jail and walking along a corridor carrying a kettle before entering the victim’s cell. When officers approached him after the attack he admitted assaulting Murray.

McKinlay previously slashed another prisoner in Perth jail in 2015 with a makeshift bladed weapon, leaving him scarred for life.