THE Scottish Government has rubbished Tory calls for whole life sentences to be brought into Scots law - as courts already have the power to do so.

Scottish Tory community safety spokesman Russell Findlay made the call for whole life orders to be brought in after Sarah Everard’s killer was sentenced to life in prison.

He cited the case of George Metcalff, 71, who was convicted of murdering and raping Patricia Henry at her flat in South Ayrshire.

Findlay said Metcalff will not receive a whole life sentence this month due to the punishment not being possible in Scotland.

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However, the Scottish Government said that Scots law provides that a punishment part of a life sentence “can extend beyond the rest of a person’s life”.

For example, Angus Sinclair, the "World’s End" murderer, received a punishment part that meant he could not be considered for release until he was 106 years old.

This is not the first time the Tories have pursued this policy, with MSP Liam Kerr lodging a Private Members Bill on the issue during the last parliamentary term, and it was contained in their 2021 manifesto. Findlay is now calling on MSPs to back the legislation so that “life really does mean life for the very worst criminals”.

He said: “It is entirely right for a judge to have the power to impose a whole life sentence on the police officer who murdered Sarah Everard, meaning that he will never be released.

The National:

Former investigative journalist Findlay is spearheading the policy this term

“If a similar crime occurred in Scotland, a judge would not be allowed to make the same decision.

“Life really should mean life for Scotland’s most dangerous criminals. Our proposals would ensure judges could guarantee victims, and wider society, that they would stay locked up.

“Other parties previously rejected this Scottish Conservative proposals but I hope they will now re-think their opposition and work with me to introduce this crucial sentencing option as a matter of urgency.

“All too often the SNP let down victims and put the interest of criminals first. The Scottish Conservatives will continue to push for whole life sentences to be imposed to ensure the worst offenders feel the full force of the law.”

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A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “For those that commit the most heinous crimes, it is already the case that Scots law allows the criminal courts to keep offenders in custody for the rest of their life.

“These exceptional powers have been in place for use by Scotland’s most senior judges in the High Court since the early 2000’s and the Scottish Government fully supports courts having these powers.

“The use of such powers is appropriate for the independent court to determine on a case by case basis.”

Last week, Tory MSP Megan Gallagher asked Justice Secretary Keith Brown if he would consider bringing in whole life orders off the back of the Sarah Everard case.

He said that the courts “have the ability to hand down extended sentences in cases in which they think that that is appropriate”.

Brown added that the Government will continue to “keep things under review” but their current position is that the courts already have the powers needed.