Man who battered Kirkcaldy charity worker to remain in Carstairs

High Court, Edinburgh
High Court, Edinburgh

A SEX offender who battered a charity worker with a hammer telling her “I am the devil” has been ordered to stay in the State Hospital.

A jury found Gordon McRobbie (39), guilty of attempted murder in the Dysart flat provided for him by the Richmond Fellowship - an organisation dedicated to helping people with a range of disabilities to live in the community.

A trial heard McRobbie suffered from mild learning difficulties and had mental health problems. He also has a previous convictions for a minor sex offence and dishonesty - but no record for violence.

As part of the support offered by the Fellowship he received regular visits from Christina Morris (22), who usually stayed overnight, alone, in a staff room at the flats in Cook Street, Dysart.

Tearful Ms Morris, giving evidence from behind screens, told how, on her support visits, she would help McRobbie with shopping and cleaning and download films for him to watch on his laptop.

On April 21 they had been for a walk - at McRobbie’s suggestion - to visit a place he used to go to as a child and he seemed “fine”.

Later they watched television together, until McRobbie got up and left. She thought he might have gone to smoke a cigarette.

“The next thing I felt was a blow to the back of my head,” she said, choking back sobs.

“As I put my hands up to my face I began to think: that was actually much harder than just a hit with a hand.”

Ms Morris described how McRobbie put a hand over her face and squeezed her neck, pinning her against a wall.

McRobbie was also kicking and punching her.

She said the pressure on her throat was really hard.

“I don’t know how I got away from him, but then I was in the hallway.”

In the hallway, she said, McRobbie continued his attack: “I didn’t know he was behind me but he must have been and I felt more blows to the back of my head and I also felt him pulling on my hair.”

She said she tried to take refuge in the staff bedroom but McRobbie slipped through the door before she could close it.

Then she saw a hammer on top of the fridge there. “It was covered in blood,” she said.

McRobbie said something like “I am going to kill you” or “I could have killed you.”

She said she felt dizzy as McRobbie looked at his hands, covered in blood, and she managed to alert her employer about what was happening.

Ms Morris said McRobbie had “a fixated stare” and told her “I am the devil” during the terror attack.

She was left with severe bruising to her head and had to be taken back to hospital for further treatment a day later when her friends noticed she had passed out.

The hammer blows also affected her sight but the squint had corrected itself, the High Court in Edinburgh heard.

Ms Morris said that since the attack she now “freaked out” if anyone came up behind her and she had been unable to return to her work with the Richmond Fellowship.

After the jury verdict, advocate depute Adrian Cottam, prosecuting, said when McRobbie had appeared at Kirkcaldy Sheriff Court in the aftermath of the attack he was sent to the State Hospital, Carstairs.

Doctors there had suggested that, if convicted, he should stay in the hospital for further assessment.

McRobbie is due back in court in January when judge Michael O’Grady QC will decide the next move, based on the medical reports.