An “evil” man and his accomplice are to appeal their life sentences for murdering a Shetland mum-of-two in a bid for drug money.
Ross MacDougall, 32, and Dawn Smith, 29, were jailed for more than 40 years in December following the brutal killing of Tracy Walker in Lerwick.
Following 16 days of proceedings at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Uist described the attack on July 30, 2019, as “slaughter,” calling it “shocking and gruesome”.
Bid to fight convictions
Documents lodged with the courts now show the pair are attempting to overturn their punishments.
They are planning to appeal against both their convictions and the sentences they had imposed.
MacDougall was jailed for at least 23 years, while Smith was told she would have to serve 20 years and two months behind bars before her release would be considered.
A procedural hearing is due to take place next week in order to determine if the appeal process than proceed, with a view to setting a date for the matter to be heard in full.
Court heard of gruesome killing
Both denied their part in the murder, with the case going to trial at the end of last year.
During the hearing, the jury was told the pair had targeted Ms Walker, 40, as she walked along Ladies Drive, because they knew she was carrying money.
During their bid to rob her of the cash, which they planned to spend on drugs, Ms Walker was struck over the head with a rock by MacDougall.
He then strangled her and repeatedly stabbed her in the throat, leaving her with a five-inch cut across the front of her neck.
As this happened, Smith stood for 10 minutes watching her victim die, before the pair left the scene with Ms Walker lying on the ground battling to survive.
The court heard MacDougall had also taken steps to find a false alibi and destroy evidence, and that he had a raft of previous convictions.
Between March 2010 and April 2016, he racked up 10 separate court appearances.
He was jailed for 14 months in 2016 for threatening or abusive behaviour involving a knife, and for 16 months in 2015 after admitting to stabbing another man.
As he was sentenced, Lord Uist branded him an “evil man”.
Meanwhile Smith had an extensive criminal record, largely for crimes of dishonesty, with 11 court appearances between July 2008 and 2019 – two of which resulted in prison sentences.
Lord Uist said to her: “You were convicted of possession of a screwdriver and, separately, possession of an axe in March 2019.
“You encouraged or instigated your co-accused to commit this murder and supplied him with the knife which he used. Your guilt is at least as great as his.”
At the trial, defence advocate Brian McConnachie QC told Lord Uist that MacDougall had a long-standing drug problem and had experienced a troubled childhood.
He said MacDougall had been trying to avoid illicit substances in the days and hours before the murder, and added: “It is the worst mistake that he has ever made in his life – not just for him but for Tracy Walker.”
He told the court MacDougall claimed to have no recollection of the attack.