Violent bigot jailed for ‘disfiguring’ child death crash inmate in Saughton prison

A violent bigot who horrifically scarred a man for life in a prison attack has been jailed for six years and eight months.

Thursday, 28th March 2019, 12:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 12:28 pm

Thomas Conington used a home-made weapon to slash Luke Pirie on the face, leaving him with a 17 centimetre wound.

Conington, 31, carried out the attack while a prisoner in Edinburgh’s Saughton jail after an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) was imposed on him in 2017 after he firebombed the city’s Central Mosque in a hate crime.

A judge told Conington at the High Court in Edinburgh: “It is clear to me you are a violent and dangerous man who has no respect for the law or the values of civilised society.”

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Thomas Conington.

Lord Pentland went on: “You pled guilty to carrying out a vicious attack on a fellow prisoner having armed yourself with an improvised weapon and deliberately slashed the victim across the face with it.”

The judge said the victim was left with “a disfiguring facial scar” which was bound to have a devastating effect on him.

Pirie was serving a six year jail sentence for causing the death of two-year-old Harlow Edwards by dangerous driving, after losing control of his car in 2016.

At the time, Lord Ericht said Pirie had indulged in a “prolonged persistent and deliberate course of bad driving” which involved sending and reading text messages at the wheel and speeding. He then attempted to overtake a line of three cars on the outskirts of Coupar Angus and collided with a car at 50mph, before mounting the pavement and hitting the toddler.

Lord Ericht said Pirie had “shattered the life of a family” because of his actions.

During the sentencing of his attacker Conington today, Lord Pentland said Conington had “a truly dreadful” criminal record and would have been jailed for 10 years for the latest attack but for his guilty plea.

The judge ordered that the sentence imposed today should start after Conington has completed the minimum period jail term imposed on him under the OLR following the petrol bombing at the Potterow mosque in September 2016.

High risk Conington is due to complete a three year and nine month minimum term in June next year, although he would only ever be released if parole authorities considered it was safe to do so.

Conington admitted attacking Pirie, 25, at the jail on August 10 last year and striking him on the face with an improvised bladed weapon to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

Advocate depute Mark McGuire said Conington has a total of 49 convictions involving 76 different crimes including 14 assaults and 19 offences involving racial or religious prejudice.

He said that on the day of the serious attack on Pirie, Conington was earlier assaulted. Pirie received information which led him to believe Conington intended to carry out a revenge attack on him.

The prosecutor said: “The accused slashed across the victim’s face from his chin to his right ear.”

The victim jumped to his feet and held his face with blood pouring from the wound through his fingers.

Conington walked towards a prison officer still holding the makeshift knife, made out of a toothbrush with a blade melted into it, but dropped it when ordered to do so.

Officers secured the attacker and as they took him away he said he had attacked Pirie in retaliation for the earlier assault on him.

The victim was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he needed a blood transfusion because of the amount of blood he had lost. Surgery was carried out to clean and close his facial wound.

Mr McGuire said: “As a consequence of this attack the complainer has been left with a permanent and obvious scar. Treatment is ongoing to repair nerve damage and it is not yet known whether that damage will be permanent.”

Defence solicitor Paul Haran said Conington, who is now in Addiewell jail in West Lothian, has an anti-social personality disorder but has now begun one-to-one session work with a psychologist.

He said: “He appreciates this was an utterly horrific attack which will have a long lasting effect on the complainer.”

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