An Inverness grandmother is “lucky to be alive” after she was stabbed in in her own home – with her own carving knife – by a woman who reported missing from a local psychiatric hospital.
Smirking Chelsea Brown wounded Kathleen MacKinnon in the stomach with the 8in blade.
Mrs MacKinnon, 57, screamed for help from her husband as Brown, who police were looking for, fled the house.
Brown, 24, was charged with attempting to murder Mrs MacKinnon at her home in Suilven Way on June 18 last year by stabbing her on the body with a knife to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of her life.
Psychiatrists concluded she was unfit for trial but the details came out at a hearing at the High Court in Edinburgh this week.
After hearing the evidence, judge Lord Tyre said that he was satisfied that the attempted murder was made out and added it was clearly “a matter of extreme good fortune” that a fatal wound was not inflicted in the stabbing attack.
Lord Tyre ordered that an interim compulsion order should be made detaining Brown in a Glasgow clinic.
The court heard that Brown, who has a mental disorder and learning disability, was a significant risk to others – but she understood that stabbing a person was wrong and could lead to injury.
The court heard how care worker Mrs MacKinnon got out of bed in the early hours of the morning, only to find Brown, wearing a pink hooded top, standing outside the bathroom door with the carving knife.
She said: “She was saying something to herself and smirking.”
Brown came towards her and before she got a chance to move plunged the weapon into her stomach. The victim said she was shocked and scared and added: “I couldn’t believe what she had done.”
She said she screamed for her husband.
Mrs MacKinnon said: “The girl took the knife back out and ran down the stairs.”
Her husband Alexander, 59, a construction foreman, said that following the 5am attack his wife was conscious and, while they waited for police and ambulance, they used towels to try to stop the blood.
Mrs MacKinnon said that she moved house after the attack and added: “I wouldn’t be able to cope living in the house where it happened.”
She said she had become nervous and was less active than she used to be before the intruder had come in through the unlocked back door and carried out the unprovoked assault.
Police were looking for Brown after she had been reported missing from New Craigs Hospital and found her near the scene of the murder bid. Her DNA was also found on the knife which was recovered from a garden.
Advocate depute Maryam Labaki asked consultant surgeon Bernhard Wolf, 57, who operated on the stabbing victim: “Is Mrs MacKinnon lucky to be alive?”. Mr Wolf replied: “Yes.”
Last night Mrs MacKinnon told the Press and Journal that she directs no blame or hatred towards her attacker despite the seriousness of the incident.
She also thanked her surgeon and the paramedics and all staff at NHS Highland who she said helped “save her life,” as well as police.
She said: “They all dealt with everything really well. The surgeon said afterwards it was a miracle it was just my bowel that had been penetrated internally.”
Mrs MacKinnon said she returned to her job as a carer about four months after the attack, adding: “I have lost a lot of confidence and I am very weary of trusting people. Things will never be the same again.
“I feel no blame. I don’t hate her which has helped me and my family. There is no hate there and it’s definitely helped us get through it.”
Recalling the aftermath of the attack last June, she said: “I was conscious until the paramedics came. I wanted to stay conscious to stay alive.”
Mrs MacKinnon, who moved to another home in Inverness following the incident, added that she was told the blade had been forced 4ins inside her stomach during the attack.