Women 'Play Leading Role in Crimes of Violence'; Convicted Killer: Gemma Valenti Is Led Away

Article excerpt

Byline: Stuart Nicolson

WOMEN are becoming the 'prime movers' in some of the most viciouskillings and other violent crimes, Scotland's top prosecutor warned yesterday.

Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini told MSPs that some women criminals had carriedout 'appalling acts of torture'.

And she warned that many young girls now regularly carry knives and use them toattack members of other female gangs.

The stark message came as Miss Angiolini gave evidence to members of Holyrood'sequal opportunities committee.

Female crime, she said, was being fuelled by the rising tide of bingedrinkingand was no longer confined to non-violent offences such as theft and fraud.

'There is evidence that while most of the crime committed by women isacquisitive, there are those committing violent offences,' she said.

'I've seen anecdotal evidence and from my own experience as a prosecutor - over25 years or so - that many women are not just simply the collaborators.

'They are not just going along with a dominant male partner, being anaccessory, carrying knifes for boyfriends, assisting in cleaning up after amurder, hiding weapons, but are actually prime movers.

'We have seen some appalling acts of torture by women against women, we haveseen increasing signs of groups of young girls using knives, againstpredominantly other young girls, and carrying weapons. Those are what we mighttraditionally have perceived as male behaviours.

'The violence seems in some way to be aligned with the increasing consumptionof alcohol by young women - binge-drinking. And in the drugs world there's avery small number who are leading groups and gangs.' Miss Angiolini alsorejected suggestions that all women who ended up in prison were victims ofafflictions such as mental illness: 'It's not simply the case that all womenare there because of their vulnerability.

'There are some signs, which I find worrying, of women adopting aggressivebehaviours, which hitherto hadn't been common. …