A pregnant woman cleared of a gruesome unsolved murder has walked free from court after a sheriff said she did not want her baby to be born behind bars.
Angela Newlands failed to carry out a community payback order but escaped a jail term after the sheriff was told she is due to give birth to her fifth child on January 8.
Sheriff Gillian Wade said: “It was clear in my mind that there was no alternative to a custodial sentence because of the number of opportunities you have been given.
“I have little confidence you will continue to comply with those trying their very best to help you. I have to take account of the fact you are pregnant with another child.
“I do not necessarily think a custodial setting is the best place for that child to come into the world.”
Newlands was given another chance to carry out community payback, as a new order for a year’s supervision and a six month curfew was imposed at Perth Sheriff Court.
Heavily pregnant Newlands – who was cleared of killing her lover’s sister Annalise Johnstone – had admitted failing to complete her previously imposed court order. She fell pregnant during her previous curfew.
Solicitor John McLaughlin, defending, said: “The social work report makes depressing reading and show she hasn’t made much of a fist of the community payback order.”
Newlands admitted missing three meetings with her supervising social worker on September 3 and 10 and October 1.
She had previously been placed on an eight-month curfew – from 7pm to 7am daily – and under supervision for a year when she first admitted failing to carry out a social work order. Newlands had originally been ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work in September 2019 when she admitted trying to hide her identity by giving police a false ID.
Newlands tried to pin the blame on her own sister when she was caught driving the wrong way on a one-way street while she was already banned.
But the officer recognised Newlands, 30, and was aware that she and her boyfriend Jordan Johnstone had been charged with the murder of Annalise, 22.
Annalise’s body was found dumped at the Maggie Wall’s Witch Monument in Dunning, Perthshire, in May 2018. Her throat had been cut.
Newlands was cleared of the murder in May last year after a judge at the High Court ruled that there was insufficient evidence.
Johnstone – who admitted carrying his dead sister’s body for two miles and dumping her by a roadside – was also cleared of murder.
In the original report of these proceedings, it was stated the grandmother of accused person Angela Newlands, died after contracting Covid-19.
Although this was accurately reported as part of Newlands’ plea in mitigation, the information given to the court was incorrect. We have removed this reference after a request from the family and solicitor.