The sentencing of a Perth killer and his mother, who tried to cover up her son’s crimes, has been slammed by their victim’s family.
Barry Dixon’s family say the sentencing of Robbie and Mary Theresa Smullen has made “a mockery” of the Scottish justice system.
Barry was stabbed to death at a flat in Wallace Court in June 2019.
On Friday, Robbie Smullen was sentenced to nine years and three months in prison after being convicted of culpable homicide, while his mother Mary Theresa was handed unpaid work for perverting the course of justice.
Barry Dixon’s family have been campaigning for justice and say they are in “utter disbelief” at the “unduly lenient” sentences issued by Lady Carmichael.
While Barry’s family did not attend the High Court in Edinburgh last week, they have been liaising with a legal team over the weekend and have released a statement condemning the punishments.
They are particularly scathing of that issued to Mrs Smullen, who admitted phoning the police and blaming Barry’s death on her son’s girlfriend Shannon Beattie.
Jade Taylor, Barry’s aunt, labelled her role as “heinous”, saying: “We were absolutely devastated to hear that Mary Smullen was not sentenced to a period in prison.
“Days on, we are still in utter disbelief and we are hoping for news that the Crown Office will appeal this unduly lenient sentence.
“In many ways for us, the suffering inflicted on Barry by this woman while he lay bleeding and dying was far more depraved than than her son Robbie Smullen’s actions when he stabbed Barry.
“It is in my mind constantly that when Barry saw his killer’s mum enter the property – an older woman, a mother – he would have assumed they were going to help him and the thought of him realising they were not there to help him live is very hard to live with.”
Smullen was sentenced to 180 hours of unpaid work and it was noted that she had ultimately been the person who called an ambulance.
Lady Carmichael told the 47-year-old “thankfully” her actions had not sent the police down the wrong path for long.
However, Jade believes they left an indelible mark on the investigation.
“The Sheriff Court sentences up to a maximum of five years in prison and we had expected her to be sentenced to five years in prison at the very least for her heinous actions.
“She was able to outsmart police officers and detectives and went on to outsmart the Crown, making an absolute mockery of the Scottish justice system.
“She waited until the last day of the prosecution’s case against her before changing her plea to guilty.
“It is in the public interest that she is punished by a prison sentence after her High Court conviction on indictment.”
Her family is currently fundraising for £50,000 to launch a full legal challenge.
They insist evidence from the night has gone missing.
Jade said: “Because of Mary Smullen’s actions, detailed in her charge, vital evidence was gone.
“We are always looking and hoping that the knife, clothing and trainers hidden will be found and this will always torment us.
“She did not even show a shred of remorse by admitting to where this evidence went, to at least stop this life long torment for Barry’s family.
“She simply told a criminal justice social worker she was sorry for the benefit of the report, to benefit herself.
“Remorse starts with the truth.”