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Paedophile who abducted child bids to have ‘excessive’ sentence reduced

A paedophile who abducted a child and abused her for 27 hours will have a bid to reduce his “excessive” sentence considered amid claims it put “too much weight” on his transgender identity, a court has heard.

Andrew Miller, 53, who also uses the name Amy George, was dressed as a woman when he offered the primary school-aged child – whom he had never seen before – a lift in February 2023.

He took the girl back to his house in the Scottish Borders and subjected her to repeated attacks, which a judge described as “every parent’s worst nightmare”.

Miller was handed a 28-year extended sentence last October, comprising 20 years behind bars and a further eight on licence under supervision in the community.

He pleaded guilty to charges of abduction, sexual assault, watching pornography in the presence of the child under the age of 13, and possessing 242 indecent images of children in May 2023.

Appeal judges will consider if the 20-year custodial sentence was “excessive” and placed “too much weight” on his transgender identity, with an “insufficient discount” for an early guilty plea.

The appeal court in Edinburgh on Friday heard that Miller had lived as a woman for six years prior to the offence, and is now supporting other trans prisoners.

Defence advocate Victoria Dow said that after being jailed, Miller was moved to an enhanced unit in Ratho prison, Edinburgh, as he was “trusted”, and “wants to understand why he committed the offence”.

Ms Dow said: “The 28-year sentence was excessive having regard to the overall circumstances. Nothing I say should be considered to be minimising the offence. Clearly a substantial sentence was appropriate.”

She said Miller lived as a woman “for many years”, and his “transgender identity had been a factor throughout his life”.

Andrew Miller
Andrew Miller, under blanket, pictured during a court appearance before his sentencing (PA)

She added: “Too much weight has been attached to that factor. It is clear the appellant has experienced psychological difficulties throughout his life. This is his first offence for such a serious matter.

“Prior to the offence he was struggling to cope with a number of factors in his life. He was soothed by the feeling of control.

“No criminal justice social work report was carried out. There simply wasn’t one. The headline sentence was excessive. It is submitted in this case that the discount was insufficient.”

Miller pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity which saved the child the ordeal of a trial, the court was told.

Ms Dow said: “That’s something Miller should be given some credit for.”

She added: “There were long periods where Miller lived his life and did not cause any harm. He is not a persistent offender.”

Ms Dow said a risk assessor looked at “enduring risk to the public” and found Miller was “medium risk of substantial harm”.

She said the risk assessor “feels some optimism” and Miller is engaging with prison staff.

Miller had a background of excessive alcohol consumption and using pornography to cope with his personal issues, and is now estranged from his family, the court heard.

Ms Dow said: “He has gone to an enhanced unit at Ratho, for earning the trust of the prison – not engaging in abusive behaviour, working. He wants to understand why he committed the offence.

“Any sentence imposed will be a serious one, he will have ample opportunity to engage.

“He has engaged well with prison staff, the risk assessor feels some optimism.”

Judge Lord Carloway said: “I was rather disappointed in the judge’s report in this case.”

A written decision will be issued in future.