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“At least” 18 years’ imprisonment for James Ross torturer

A shorter sentence would not serve the interests of the State, heard Loulé Court last week

By SOPHIE MCCARRICK [email protected]

The alleged leader of the gang that kidnapped and tortured Scotsman James Ross in the Algarve in 2010 could receive a prison sentence of 18 years or more, after the Public Prosecutor requested a lengthy sentence during a hearing at Loulé Court last week.

The Public Prosecutor (Ministério Público) said that at least 18 years’ imprisonment would be appropriate for Steven Johnson if justice is to be done, following the “brutal plan” allegedly formulated by him and carried out with four accomplices.

“Any sentence given that is less than 18 years in prison would not meet the interests of the State,” said the Public Prosecutor during closing arguments.

The five defendants, Steven Johnson, William Quinn, Terrance McGurk, Calum Macleod and Ronnie Rose stand trial for various charges including the attempted murder, kidnap and rape of James, who they allegedly lured to the Algarve and kidnapped from Faro airport in 2010.

The victim was then forced to withstand 13 days of abuse in a secluded villa in Portela de São Faustino, near Boliqueime, where he was said to have been tied up, beaten, sodomised, and had one ear, two fingers and three toes amputated, before escaping.

The defendants also face charges including grand theft, offence to physical integrity, criminal conspiracy, aggravated drug trafficking and criminal association with trafficking.

With evidence indicating intent to kill James Ross, Polícia Judiciária inspector Pedro Felício, who coordinated the investigation, said that Johnson’s phone had been tapped throughout the kidnapping of James Ross and he was recorded saying to his gang members, “you need to rush things because the police are on to me” and to “make him swim with the fishes.”

The gang had allegedly planned to kill James Ross by pushing a car with him inside into the Santa Clara Dam in the Alentejo, but the plan was thwarted.

The Public Prosecutor believes that evidence available indicate that defendant Willian Quinn could be given a sentence of approximately two-and-a-half years for drug trafficking, and accomplices Terrance McGurk and Ronnie Rose could receive lighter sentences than Calum Macleod, due to Terrance’s collaboration with the PJ investigation and evidence indicating that Rose is only guilty of kidnapping.

Sentencing is due to take place on July 13.