Skye murderer loses appeal to have jail term reduced

The house in Breakish pictured after the discovery of Mr Bruce’s body

A woman who murdered her husband on Skye has today lost her bid to have her jail sentence cut.

Sandra Bruce (61) was jailed for life for repeatedly kicking, stamping and jumping on the head and body of former paramedic Norman (64) at their home in Breakish in February 2014.

The judge who sentenced her last June, Lord Armstrong, ordered that the former secretary should serve at least 15 years in prison for the murder.

Lawyers acting for her challenged the decision at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh.

Bruce claimed that she still has no memory of the brutal battering to death of her husband

Today (Friday 4th March) three judges refused the appeal.

Scotland’s senior judge, the Lord Justice General, Lord Carloway, said while there were features that could be advanced on behalf of Bruce there were also aggravating factors. He said: “Notably the nature of the attack and the absence of a call for assistance.”

Lord Carloway, who had heard the appeal with Lady Paton and Lady Clark of Calton, said: “Exactly what occurred during the course of the night essentially remains unknown.”

But a post mortem had shown that the victim had sustained numerous injuries and suffered 20 fractures to the rib cage and neck consistent with blunt force trauma.

Mr Bruce was also found to have suffered scratches to his torso which appeared to have been caused by fingernails being dragged across his body.

Bruce called the emergency services who arrived to find her in “a state of distress and intoxication”, said Lord Carloway.

The senior judge said in due course she accepted responsibility for the death of her husband, but went on trial maintaining it was not murder.

Lord Carloway said that in fixing the minimum term of the life sentence the sentencing judge had taken into account that Bruce had no criminal history, had never served a prison sentence, her employment record and age.

Defence counsel Brian McConnachie QC argued that the court had not taken sufficient account of the personal circumstances of Bruce.

But Lord Carloway said that the lower end of the scale for punishment in “unexceptional cases” of murder was now about 14 years.