Woman who killed Scots care worker sentenced with indefinite hospital order

A woman who stabbed her care worker to death at supported accommodation has been sentenced to an indefinite stay in a secure hospital.

Kellyanne McNaughton, 33, admitted killing Michele Rutherford, 54, at supported accommodation in Stirling last year. She stabbed Ms Rutherford repeatedly during the attack at Craighall Court on March 7 and was arrested on the same day.

Mother-of-two Ms Rutherford was rushed to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital in Glasgow but could not be saved.

McNaughton was originally charged with murder but prosecutors accepted a plea to the lesser charge of culpable homicide. She pleaded guilty on January 8 but sentencing was delayed several times due to difficulty finding a secure hospital to accommodate her.

At the High Court in Glasgow, McNaughton was sentenced to a compulsion and restriction order at Priory Hospital Llanarth Court, Monmouthshire, Wales, which will be indefinite.

Dr Nicola Swinson, a consultant forensic psychiatrist who worked in Carstairs State Hospital for seven years, told the court that she first met McNaughton in the court cells after the killing happened.

The scene of the attack in Craighall Court, Stirling -Credit:Daily Record
The scene of the attack in Craighall Court, Stirling -Credit:Daily Record

She described McNaughton as having an “intellectual disability” and a diagnosis of emotionally unstable personality disorder with no previous history of violence.

Dr Swinson told the court: “Ms McNaughton develops what she calls trances, where she is unaware of what is happening during the course of this episode, and only becomes aware at the end of it.”

The court heard that McNaughton had been held in both HMP Polmont, where she did not leave her cell, and HMP Stirling.

Dr Swinson said: “This has been an incredibly complicated and challenging process of trying to find a hospital bed for Ms McNaughton, we initially referred her to Rampton Hospital (a high-security psychiatric hospital in Woodbeck, Nottinghamshire), but they were of the view she did not meet their criteria.

“Our preference was for Ms McNaughton to remain in Scotland due to proximity to family.”

She told the court that the Priory Hospital Llanarth Court had assessed McNaughton, had seen a risk assessment and held discussions with staff, and that she believed McNaughton posed a risk to the public and a risk to herself.

The Priory Hospital Llanarth Court is a medium-secure unit but Dr Swinson told the court the threshold was “much higher” in England and Wales, and she was aware of several convicted killers who had been accommodated in such units.

Dr Swinson said reports would be issued to the Ministry of Justice.

Advocate depute Graeme Jessop told the court Ms Rutherford’s family had written letters expressing concern.

Sentencing, Judge Armstrong said Ms Rutherford was a “loving mother” who had been attacked along with two other colleagues in the course of her work.

He said victim impact statements had been submitted from Ms Rutherford’s husband and daughters, and brother.

Addressing McNaughton, the judge said: “First, that you are detained in Priory Hospital Llanarth Court without limit of time and that you are given relevant medical treatment.

“I hope it’s understood that the court can only act on expert advice.”

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