Struggle to find suitable hospital for woman who stabbed care worker to death

Kellyanne McNaughton, 33, admitted killing Michele Rutherford, 54, at supported accommodation last year.

Struggle to find suitable hospital for woman who stabbed care worker to death Police Scotland

A woman who stabbed her care worker to death has been made to wait further to see where she will be held long term.

Kellyanne McNaughton killed Michele Rutherford on March 7, 2023, after failed attempts to get the 33 year-old psychiatric help.

The much-loved 54-year-old mum never recovered after the attack at the supported accommodation in Craighall Court in Stirling run by The Richmond Fellowship charity.

McNaughton – who had initially faced a murder allegation – pleaded guilty in January to the reduced charge of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The case called again at the High Court in Glasgow on Friday.

Richmond Fellowship's Craighall Court.Google Maps

Previous hearings were told that the plan was for McNaughton to receive treatment for her conditions, but the only “high risk” facility in Scotland is the State Hospital at Carstairs, which caters for men.

There had been initial discussions about her being transferred to a hospital in England.

McNaughton’s KC Tony Lenehan KC said: “There continues to be a difficulty identifying the best location for her.

“I am guided that there is hope if there is a continuation.”

Prosecutor Graeme Jessop told the hearing that there are discussions between the Scottish Government, the State Hospital and Rowanbank Clinic.

He said: “We asked if additional resources could be put in place and this has been unsuccessful.

“Efforts are ongoing to see if there is a suitable hospital for her admission.

“A low secure unit is being considered in the first instance – it is being considered for the treatment of Ms McNaughton.

“The family have expressed their concerns when they became aware of that information.”

McNaughton was not present for the hearing and appeared via video link.

She had been remanded in HMP Stirling at a previous hearing.

The case will call again at the end of the month at the High Court in Edinburgh.

Prosecutor Graeme Jessop KC told the hearing in January how McNaughton was one of a number of residents living at the accommodation in Stirling.

Mrs Rutherford – who had been with the Richmond Fellowship for 20 years – was her senior support worker there.

McNaughton had a number of issues, but was not previously considered to be “violent”.

The court heard in 2023 there was an incident in her personal life which appeared to be a “trigger” in affecting her behaviour.

In the lead-up to the killing, she made a number of claims including how she could hear children screaming.

Mr Jessop: “As a result, staff attempted to phone a psychiatrist that McNaughton had previously been under the care of.

“But, they were advised that she had been discharged and a referral would have to be made through her GP.”

Police were also alerted about McNaughton’s behaviour.

Officers checked on her and she later appeared “calm”. She was left in the care of three workers with police filing an “adult concern” report to social workers.

In the early hours of March 7, a worker then contacted NHS 24 about McNaughton.

She was said to be hearing voices and being aggressive.

But, after she again calmed down, a decision was made not to send a doctor out.

McNaughton then asked later morning to speak to senior staff while continuing to have “delusional beliefs”.

She went to a flat used as a “hub” by workers. Mrs Rutherford’s colleague was on the phone at the time trying to arrange an assessment for erratic McNaughton.

McNaughton then confronted Mrs Rutherford making accusations about staff.

Mr Jessop: “She lunged at Michele Rutherford stabbing her in the chest several times.

“Initially, Michele and others believed she had only punched her.

“It was only later in the struggle that they became aware McNaughton had a knife.”

Mrs Rutherford’s colleague and a fellow carer were also struck before the former persuaded McNaughton to release the knife.

A bleeding Mrs Rutherford was seen on her knees clutching her chest and begging for help.

A carer rushed to get a towel to stem the blood as emergency services were alerted.

Mr Jessop: “She remembered Michele asking her to tell her children that she loved them.

“She went on to talk about her family – in particular her daughters and their cat.”

McNaughton was heard making a number of remarks about what occurred.

She confessed to police: “Yeah, I stabbed the three of them. They are carers where I live. I stabbed them in the chest and arms.

“I am sorry. I was demonic. I had the wee knife in my pocket.”

Mrs Rutherford, of Stirling, passed away having been stabbed twice in the heart.

She is survived by her husband, two daughters and her brother.

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