Man Imprisoned for Raping Murder Victim Five Months Prior to Her Passing

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Edinburgh High Court – Scotland (PA Archive)
Edinburgh High Court – Scotland (PA Archive)
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A man who sexually assaulted a teenager five months before she was tragically killed by her brother has been given a prison sentence of 10 and a half years.

Jamie Starrs, aged 20, committed the assault on Amber Gibson, raping her while she was asleep or unconscious at a residence in Bothwell during June 2021.

Amber, who was 16 years old, suffered both sexual assault and murder in November 2021 at the hands of her brother Connor Gibson. He was found guilty and convicted last month after a trial held at the High Court in Glasgow.

Starrs faced a separate trial at the High Court in Lanark in July, where he was found guilty of raping the teenager.

Judge Thomas Welsh KC, delivering the verdict, stated, “You have been found guilty of horrendous offenses against two innocent teenage girls.”

Furthermore, Starrs was also found guilty of raping another teenage girl in Bothwell, South Lanarkshire, in May 2021.

During the sentencing at the High Court in Edinburgh on Tuesday, Judge Thomas Welsh KC imposed an extended sentence of 10 and a half years in custody, along with an additional two years of supervision upon his release.

Sentencing Starrs, who appeared via video link from custody, the judge said: “You have been convicted of appalling crimes against two innocent teenage girls and you have been assessed as being of very high risk of sexual violence on release.

“I am required to take into account your age and difficult upbringing – however, the crimes remain serious and grave, and I will impose an extended sentence.”

He stated that while he initially considered an 11-year custody term, he opted to lower it to 10 and a half years in recognition of the period Jamie Starrs has already spent in remand.

The 20-year-old was also convicted of violating bail conditions and attempting to obstruct the legal process.

He has been placed on the sex offenders register with an indefinite duration.

During the plea in mitigation, Michael Meehan KC, representing Starrs, emphasized that due to his age being under 25, the sentencing must consider the guidelines that acknowledge a younger individual’s comparatively lower level of maturity when compared to an older person.

He said a report identified that Starrs shows “cognitive and emotional immaturity”.

The attorney had additionally appealed to the judge to take into account his client’s challenging childhood circumstances when determining the sentence.

He informed the court that Starrs had been removed from parental care at the age of three and had grappled with addiction problems since the age of nine.

Mr Meehan said: “He has a traumatic background from a young age which perhaps gives some degree of explanation.”

The sentencing has taken place two weeks following the conviction of Connor Gibson, aged 20, for the assault on his sister Amber. The incident occurred in a wooded area in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, during November 2021. Gibson’s actions involved forcibly removing her clothes, subjecting her to sexual assault with the intent to rape, causing severe blunt force injuries to her head and body, and ultimately strangling her.

Amber was reported missing on the evening of Friday, November 26, and her lifeless body was discovered in Cadzow Glen around 10:10 am on November 28.

Additionally, Stephen Corrigan, aged 45, was found guilty of attempting to obstruct justice and engaging in a breach of the peace. He had inappropriately touched and concealed Amber’s body after discovering it, failing to promptly contact the emergency services.

Gibson is scheduled to be sentenced on September 4 for what Judge Lord Mulholland deemed a “depraved” crime, while Corrigan’s sentencing is also set for the following month.

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