A convicted killer’s attack on a woman while he was on home leave from prison “could not have been predicted”, a review has found.
Robbie McIntosh attacked dog walker Linda McDonald as she walked in Dundee’s Templeton Woods in August 2017.
He had previously been jailed for murder after stabbing a woman in the city in 2002.
McIntosh, 32, was being prepared for full release when the second attack happened, leaving the victim with life-changing injuries and significant psychological trauma.
The decision to release McIntosh, a high-risk inmate referred to as ‘Prisoner Z’ in the report, was criticised by Mrs McDonald in the wake of the attack, for which he was jailed for five years.
The report from the Multi-agency Public Protection Arrangements group (Mappa) has made ten recommendations for improving future prisoner release arrangements.
It says that McIntosh “alone was responsible for the attack…and this could not have been predicted” but suggests that he may have manipulated the system in order to secure his release.
It adds: “There is evidence that Prisoner Z did only what he needed to do in order to progress through the prison system to the point where it might be considered that he manipulated the system through a ‘grudging compliance’.
“His positive behaviour in prison and on community leave did constitute relevant evidence that supported the decisions to increase his community access.”
The review says that the Mappa partners, which includes Scottish Police, Angus Council, NHS Tayside and the Scottish Prison Service, found there were “flaws” in the release process but that the process was followed correctly.
Elaine Torrance, independent chair of the Tayside MAPPA strategic oversight group, said: “In delivering a thorough, independent review of the events and circumstances that led up to this serious offence, the report concludes that this incident was as a consequence of the perpetrator’s actions alone and could not have been predicted.
“Nonetheless, there are a number of findings within the SCR that lead to ten recommendations that I am confident will ensure strengthened policy and practice in public protection.
“I am very appreciative of the role that the victim has played in this SCR and their dignity, drive and determination they have shown in seeking systemic improvement to try to ensure the protection of others.
“Throughout this review, the team involved in this SCR has tried to ensure that the victim and close family have been as involved as possible in discussions about the review and they have been available to hear and understand their concerns.
“I hope the publication of this report provides them with the details of the events leading up to the attack and the role of the agencies involved.”
Justice secretary Humza Yousaf said: “The victim in this case has shown considerable bravery and I am sorry for the pain and trauma she has experienced.
“It’s clear that this crime has had a lasting impact on her and her family and I am grateful for her contribution to this review. I will meet her on Thursday to hear first-hand about her experience.
“It is important that lessons are learnt from the significant case review findings and that they are acted upon.
“The Scottish Government and Scottish Prison Service accept all the recommendations for our two organisations and action is already underway to address the issues highlighted in the report.
“We will also explore options for the further use of electronic monitoring and potential to use GPS tagging to support Home Leave.
“Public protection is at the heart of Scotland’s approach to the management and necessary testing of people with offending backgrounds in the community.
“While we can never eliminate risk entirely, we and our MAPPA partners aim to do everything that can reasonably be done to protect people from individuals with serious offending backgrounds who are subject to robust risk assessment and risk management planning.”
The Scottish Prison Service (SPS) said it welcomed the report accepted all of the recommendations.
A spokeswoman said: The assault was a despicable act of cruelty and violence which we condemn. SPS deeply regrets that someone who was on license from our care subjected the victim to such a painful and traumatic experience.
“SPS will remain committed to making whatever adjustments and improvements deemed necessary, aiming to ensure that such a tragedy does not happen again.”