Monday, May 21, 2007

Diminished Responsibility

Diminished Responsibility
Originally uploaded by Son of Groucho.
I have worked as a Police Surgeon for many years. Most of the time the work involves seeing prisoners, usually drug addicts, in the cells, but we also have to see patients who have died unexpectedly, partly to see if there are any suspicious circumstances to the death.

In the early hours of 15th June last year I was asked to visit an address in Dumbarton. An emergency call had been made for an ambulance. The initial gist of the panicked phone call was that an elderly lady had collapsed in her home, but when the crew arrived to find the lady lying dead in her bedroom surrounded by blood with a large hole in her neck they surmised that something might be amiss.

I’ve been to a number of crime scenes over the years, but this was probably the bloodiest. Details of the subsequent court case can be found by clicking on the picture, but the outcome was that the poor woman had been stabbed while she slept by her grandson, who was only 15 years old at the time.

We will probably never know exactly what went on in that house but, on the surface of it, McAlpine stabbed his grandmother after she threatened to “wash her hands of him” if his behaviour didn’t improve! You really wonder what provocation would drive a 15 year old into such a rage that he would stab an elderly woman 23 times.

On the way home in the car this evening I heard how a teenager had been killed in Blackpool by a single stab wound to the chest. We clearly have to convince our young people that carrying knives can lead to tragedy---for all age groups.