Woman admits stabbing her care worker to death in supported living home

Kellyanne McNaughton killed Michele Rutherford last March 7 after failed attempts to get her psychiatric help.

Woman admits stabbing her care worker to death in supported living home Police Scotland

A woman has admitted stabbing her care worker to death in her supported living home in Stirling.

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

McNaughton also turned the blade on two of Ms Rutherford’s colleagues after they tried to come to her aid.

The 54-year-old mum died following the attack at the supported living accommodation in Craighall Court in Stirling run by The Richmond Fellowship charity.

McNaughton had faced a murder accusation but prosecutors instead accepted her guilty plea – through her KC Ian Duguid – to the reduced charge of culpable homicide.

The incident occurred at the assisted housing on Craighall Street in Stirling.

This was on the basis of diminished responsibility due to her mental health issues at the time.

The case at the High Court in Glasgow was adjourned until later this month.

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

Ms Rutherford 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, McNaughton claimed she could hear children screaming. As a result, staff attempted to phone a psychiatrist whose care she had previously been under.

“They were advised that she had been discharged and a referral would have to be made through her GP,” Mr Jessop told the court.

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.

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

She went to a flat used as a “hub” by workers. One of Ms Rutherford’s colleagues was on the phone at the time trying to arrange an assessment.

McNaughton then confronted Ms Rutherford making accusations about staff.

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

“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.”

Two other carers were also struck before one persuaded McNaughton to release the knife.

Ms Rutherford asked her colleagues to tell her children that she loved them as emergency services were called.

She died having been stabbed twice in the heart. She is survived by her husband, two daughters and her brother.

Ms Rutherford had worked for The Richmond Fellowship for 20 years.

McNaughton’s lawyer Mr Duguid described the case as “truly tragic”.

The KC added: “The even greater tragedy is that before March 7, police had attended on two occasions.

“On both of those, staff at the institution had tried to contact psychiatric services for help for the young lady herself.

“This all might, I suppose, have been averted… police officers having to attend an incident in which they were not qualified to deal with because it was a mental health issue.

“Secondly, the people genuinely aware of the difficulties she was facing were trying to engage psychiatric services and were in many ways thwarted in their attempts to get treatment.”

But, Mr Duguid said this was “not to attribute blame” on either.

The court was told McNaughton had a learning disability and an emotional unstable personality disorder.

She appeared from custody having been remanded in HMP Stirling.

The plan is for McNaughton to receive treatment for her conditions, but the only Scots “high-risk” facility is the State Hospital at Carstairs, which caters for men.

The court heard there had been initial discussions about her being transferred to a hospital in England.

Lord Armstrong initially adjourned the case until late January and McNaughton will remain in prison meantime.

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