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Foster Mother Killed
June 26, 2011 permalink
An unnamed Scottish boy has killed foster mother Dawn McKenzie. This might be a foster mother from hell who spent years torturing her ward. When he got big enough to fight back, he killed her. Or it might be a case of social services dumping a problem child into a home without warning of the boy's propensity to violent behavior, something resembling murder by social worker. Later news may reveal whether this was a long-term or short-term placement.
Police arrest teenager after foster carer is stabbed to death in bloodbath
A TEENAGE boy was charged with murder last night following the violent death of a young woman.
The 13-year-old was arrested after 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie, a former nursery nurse, was found with multiple injuries, including stab wounds, in her top-floor flat in Hamilton on Friday evening.
Dawn's body was discovered by next-door neighbour Catriona McLachlan, a nurse, who tried to save her.
She was rushed to Hairmyres Hospital in nearby East Kilbride but died a short time later.
Last night, Strathclyde Police confirmed that a 13-year old boy had been detained in connection with Dawn's death.
According to her Facebook site yesterday, Dawn had given up her job as a nursery nurse at the private Glenburn House Nursery in East Kilbride last November to become a full-time foster mother.
It is believed she and her joiner husband Bryan, 36, had taken on their foster parent duties for the first time eight months ago.
Grief-stricken Bryan, 36, was being comforted by family and friends after the tragedy.
Last night, Dawn's family and her husband's family issued a statement.
They said: "The McKenzie and Byrne families are devastated and numb with grief over the tragic loss of Dawn.
"Her husband Bryan is badly shocked and unable to speak to anyone at this time.
"Dawn was a loving wife, daughter, sister, niece, aunt and friend who will be sadly missed by everyone who knew her.
"She was nursery nurse, nanny and helped mothers and children throughout her working life.
"The families would like to thank everyone who has helped them at this difficult time and for the messages of sympathy and support which they have received."
Yesterday, neighbours of the couple in Deveron Crescent expressed their shock.
Harry Fleming, 50, said: "It is terrible. I saw Dawn only a few hours earlier enjoying the sun.
"She and her husband were a very nice couple. Though I didn't know them very well, they would always nod to me in the street."
Another neighbour Yvonne Cunningham, 38, added: "Dawn was very fit and walked everywhere.
"She was very attractive and also very pleasant. Everyone locally is shocked because this is such a law-abiding area."
Neighbour Elizabeth McGeoch, 59, added: "I have lived here for 35 years and I have never seen anything like it. It is tragic."
A Strathclyde Police spokeswoman said: "Around 8.10pm on Friday police were called to a house in Deveron Crescent, Hamilton, where 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie was found with serious injuries.
"She was taken to hospital but died a short time later.
"A 13-year-old boy has been arrested and is detained in police custody. A report will be submitted to the procurator fiscal."
The 13-year-old is expected to appear at Hamilton Sheriff Court tomorrow.
A post mortem examination was carried out yesterday.
Source: Daily Record
Addendum: Later news reveals a possible reason for the killing. The foster parents followed advice from social services to take away the computer and phone that the boy used to keep in touch with his real mother. The fosters, and the journalist, don't understand the vital importance of the parental link to a foster child.
Teenager stabbed foster carer to death after being grounded
A 14-year-old boy has admitted killing his foster carer by stabbing her ten times after he was grounded.
The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was originally charged with murdering 34-year-old Dawn McKenzie, a former nursery worker.
However, on Friday his plea of guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide was accepted by the Crown on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The High Court in Glasgow heard that in the days leading up to the killing the boy had had his X-box, mobile phone and laptop taken off him. A number of psychiatrists who examined the boy said he was not able to control his behaviour at the time.
Mrs McKenzie was stabbed ten times on the head and body. The fatal blow severed a major blood vessel and caused her to bleed to death. She was also stabbed twice in the scalp and the force of one of these blows was so great that the tip of the blade broke off and embedded itself in her skull. The defensive injuries she received showed that she had fought for her life. After the boy fled Mrs McKenzie managed to dial 999 and tell police who had stabbed her.
Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, said: "The accused and her husband Bryan treated the accused as their own. They were all due to go on holiday abroad together. It would appear that there was nothing remarkable about his behaviour in the lead up to this offence."
The court heard that it was an ordinary Friday night, with Mr McKenzie and the boy driving Mrs McKenzie to the supermarket and then going for a drive before picking her up again.
Mr Prentice added: "The accused had a circle of friends and a keen interest in football and is described by his friends as quiet and likable.”
The boy, who was just 13 at the time, stabbed Mrs McKenzie at an address in Hamilton, on June 24, 2012. The court heard that it was the last day of school and instead of coming home at the agreed time he went swimming and then on to a McDonald’s restaurant with friends.
Mr Prentice said: "He did this without permission and was told that trust was an important issue. He was grounded and told he had to go to bed an hour earlier as punishment."
The laptop and phone given to him by his mother, and which he used to keep in contact with her, had been confiscated days earlier. Mr McKenzie said the boy did not seem particularly perturbed about this.
Mr McKenzie left the house about 7pm or 7.15pm and went to his brother-in-law's house to watch a film. He says there was no animosity between Mrs McKenzie and the boy or he would not have left the flat. He kissed his wife goodbye and ruffled the boy's hair as he left and said: "See you later wee man."
That was the last time he saw his wife alive. She and the boy were both sitting watching TV. At 8.06pm a 999 call was received from Mrs McKenzie who said she had been stabbed. In the 999 tape she can be heard shouting "Mum" and "Help, help," and "Mam, am I dying."
When police arrived on the scene, one officer asked Mrs McKenzie who had stabbed her. She said it was the boy. The boy was stopped by a police officer at 8.25pm on Wellhall Road in Hamilton.
The officer asked the boy: "What's wrong with you wee man, you're shaking?" and he replied: "I've just stabbed my foster carer."
He then said he had done it with a knife and told the police officer it was still in the house at Deveron Crescent, Hamilton. When interviewed by police the boy admitted stabbing Mrs McKenzie on one occasion. When he was charged with murder he said: "I only stabbed her once."
A post-mortem examination revealed that the wound to her stomach damaged the small bowel and cut through one of the main blood vessels and she died from massive loss of blood. She also suffered a number of defensive injuries to her arms and left hand.
The tip of the knife was found under the skin at the top of her head. The pathologist said that the wounds in the scalp which damaged the skull would have required considerable force, particularly the wound from which the tip of the knife was recovered. Judge Lord Pentland was shown the knife that killed Dawn and also the broken off tip.
The court heard that Mrs McKenzie trained as a nursery nurse and after spending some time in London working as a nanny returned to Scotland and married her husband Bryan in 2000. She worked as a nursery nurse after her marriage and was well-regarded in the child care field.
The court heard that the boy told one psychiatrist that he had been grounded and said the McKenzies were angry with him for coming home late without asking permission. He said they had also removed the mobile phone and laptop given to him by his natural mother so that he could keep in contact with her.
The court heard that these items were removed from the boy on the advice of the social work department. He told other psychiatrists that he had heard voices and claimed that during the knife attack he seemed to be watching himself from above.
Lord Pentland was handed victim impact statements from Mr McKenzie and his wife’s mother. The judge said: "I shall read these documents carefully before I came to impose sentence in this case."
Sentence was deferred on the boy, who was represented by QC Donald Findlay, until August for background reports and an assessment of the danger he poses to the public.
Addendum: A paragraph in a news story a year later reveals that Dawn was not the hellish foster mom. The boy had a lot of problems that social services concealed from the foster parents, at the cost of the foster mother's life.
Only after the killing did Dawn’s family discover that social workers were aware the boy had serious mental health issues – but hadn’t passed on the information to Dawn and her husband Bryan.
Source: Daily Record, Glasgow