Glasgow & West Scotland

Boy, 14, jailed for killing foster carer Dawn McKenzie

Dawn McKenzie
Image caption Foster carer Dawn McKenzie was a former nursery worker

A boy who stabbed his foster carer to death after he was grounded has been detained for seven years.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, attacked 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie at a flat in Hamilton, on 24 June 2011.

She bled to death after being stabbed 10 times on the head and body.

At the High Court in Edinburgh, her father-in-law Tom McKenzie, 63, wept and shouted: "That's not justice. We lost our lovely girl to a monster."

The court heard that, in the days leading up to the killing, the boy's X-box, mobile phone and laptop had been taken from him.

Broken blade

The teenager attacked Mrs McKenzie after her husband Bryan left the house.

She was stabbed 10 times on the head and body. The fatal blow severed a major blood vessel and caused her to bleed to death.

The foster carer was also stabbed twice in the scalp and the force of one of these blows was so great that the tip of the blade broke off and embedded itself in her skull.

The defensive injuries she received showed she had fought for her life.

After the boy fled, Mrs McKenzie managed to dial 999 and later told police who had stabbed her.

In the recording, she can be heard shouting, "Help, help", and "Mum, am I dying?"

Mrs McKenzie died in Hairmyres Hospital, East Kilbride, at 21:40.

The pathologist who examined her body said the wounds which damaged her skull would have required considerable force.

On Friday, defence advocate Donald Findlay QC said his client had spent his early years falling victim to physical abuse from his natural parents - and that this prevented him from learning the differences between right and wrong.

Mr Findlay also said that his client's mental condition meant he was unable to keep being grounded in perspective and was unable to fully explain why he killed his carer.

Dissociative state

He added: "If he could turn back the clock he would."

The court heard that the teenager was suffering from a mental condition, called a dissociative state, in which he was unable to properly distinguish between reality and fiction.

Judge Lord Pentland said that with that in mind, he should impose a seven-year jail term and order him to be supervised for five years following his release from jail.

He added: "There is no order that I can impose that will put right the appalling consequences of her tragic death.

"It seems to me that the information provided to me by the Crown and the victim impact statement that Mrs McKenzie was an admirable person.

"She dedicated her life to looking after the welfare of children - that is no longer possible."

Mrs McKenzie's family reacted badly to the sentence imposed.

As Lord Pentland left the bench, her father-in-law Tom wept and shouted: "I beg your pardon my Lord. That's not justice. We lost our lovely girl to a monster."

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