Boy, 14, detained for killing carer

Foster carer Dawn McKenzie was stabbed to death in Hamilton, Lanarkshire

Foster carer Dawn McKenzie was stabbed to death in Hamilton, Lanarkshire

First published in National News © by

A boy who killed his foster carer by stabbing her 10 times has been detained for seven years.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, attacked Dawn McKenzie, 34, at a flat in Hamilton, Lanarkshire, in June last year after he had been grounded.

Sentencing him at the High Court in Edinburgh, Lord Pentland paid tribute to the victim, saying: "No order I impose can possibly put right the appalling consequences of her tragic death."

Ms McKenzie was "an admirable person" who dedicated her life to the welfare of children, the court heard.

The boy admitted culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility for the attack on June 24 last year. He lashed out days after his mobile phone, laptop computer and X-box video game console were confiscated. On the day of the killing he was told to go to bed early as punishment for going swimming when he was supposed to be grounded.

Donald Findlay QC, who represented the teenager, described him as a frightened boy: "Biologically and legally he should be out there being one of that generation who is being inspired by events most of us are watching in London. The reality is that (he) faces the formative years of his life in custody."

Lord Pentland imposed a seven-year sentence, reduced from a possible eight years because he pleaded guilty. The boy will be supervised for a further five years.

As sentence was passed, the victim's father-in-law, Tom McKenzie, 63, yelled out: "Rot in hell - I've lost my loving girl to a monster."

Outside court, he vowed to push for an appeal over what he called a lenient sentence. He said he is meeting Solicitor General Lesley Thomson in around two weeks: "We can't accept this. We've lost her forever and all the kids she'd given care to have lost her forever. We're victims. For a year we've been victims."

Ms McKenzie's mother, Ray Byrne, 62, said: "My life is hell on earth. We never got to say goodbye, we didn't get to hold her hand, we didn't get to cuddle her because she was dead before we got to know."

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