A teenager who absconded from a school tried to murder an 85-year-old woman in her home after repeatedly stabbing her, a court has heard.
The youth inflicted multiple wounds on Averil Hendry with a knife from her own kitchen during the attack at her rural cottage.
A judge told the attacker at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You have pled guilty to a truly terrible crime, but you are only 15-years-old. You are a child.”
Lord Richardson deferred sentence on the teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, for the preparation of reports.
The teenager admitted assaulting and attempting to murder his victim on September 15 last year at her cottage at Mountboy, Montrose, in Angus, after entering the property uninvited, brandishing a knife at her and repeatedly striking her on the body with the weapon to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement and danger of her life and robbing her of £80.
Advocate depute Gavin Anderson told the court: “The complainer has previously stated that she was traumatised by the events and would never feel safe within her home address.”
The prosecutor said the teenager was earlier made the subject of a care order by a court in England and placed in the care of an English local authority. He stayed in care settings before becoming resident at a school in Scotland in 2020 where he was under supervision.
Mr Anderson said that his previous convictions included offences of possessing a weapon and for battery.
The teenager broke free from a staff member at the Scottish school after stating that he was planning to return to England. Staff searched for him and police were alerted.
On the night of the attack, the victim went into the kitchen at her home to make a cup of tea before going to bed when she found the teenage intruder standing there, wearing a face covering.
Mr Anderson said: “The complainer had not heard the accused enter the cottage. The complainer told the accused to leave.”
“He responded, but the complainer could not make out what he said due to the face covering. He removed the face covering and again said something which the complainer could still not make out.”
“She noticed that the accused was holding a knife, which she realised was one of her own which she kept in her kitchen,” said the advocate depute.
He approached the victim who reached for her wallet and took out four £20 notes before telling him if he was after money he should take it and leave.
The teenager took the cash but continued to brandish the knife as his victim unlocked the back doors of the cottage.
Mr Anderson said the pensioner told him: “Put the knife down”. The intruder asked: “Why?”. She told him: “You don’t want to do that, you might stab somebody with it.”
The prosecutor said: “It is the accused’s position that at that point the complainer waved her walking stick at him; the complainer denies having done so and denies that she even had her walking stick with her at that point.”
He said: “The accused then said ‘like this, like this’ and began repeatedly stabbing the complainer to her upper body.”
The victim did not realise at first that she was being stabbed and pleaded with the teenager: “Please go away.”
But once she realised she had been stabbed she started to scream. The teenager threw the knife down and fled from the cottage, while the attack victim made a 999 call for help and tried to contact her daughters and neighbours.
One of her daughters and a friend made their way to the cottage and ambulance staff and police also attended. The victim was taken to hospital where she was found to have sustained penetrating wounds to her torso. Her wounds were closed with stitches and she was given antibiotics and was discharged from hospital on September 22.
Police found a bloodstained knife in the vestibule of the cottage and other knives on a kitchen worktop where the teenager had put them before the attack. They also found a sledgehammer on a chair which he had brought to the cottage.
Officers spotted the teenager walking on the A92 road at Montrose in the early hours of September 16 and he was arrested. He told the arresting officers to ‘f–k off’. He was found to have £80 concealed in his boxer shorts.
The teenager’s guilty plea was tendered in a courtroom closed to members of the public, but in the presence of his mother. He was told he would continue to be held in his current secure accommodation ahead of a further court appearance in June.