Ryan Liddell, 20, attacked his 76-year-old churchgoing victim at her home in the Perthshire town.
He was found guilty in June, but his sentencing had already been put off three times – first because reports had not been prepared, then because no risk assessment had been brought to court, and finally because Liddell himself had objected to an Order for Lifelong Restriction.
Yesterday, at the High Court in Dumbarton, trial judge Lord Uist reacted with dismay after hearing that NHS medical records had not been given to Liddell’s defence team.
It now means that he will have to arrange a fifth hearing to await the records and hold discussions over Liddell’s objections to the Lifelong Restriction Order – and at the earliest it will be a sixth hearing before he is able to sentence him.
Liddell is currently on remand at Polmont Young Offenders’ Institution in Stirlingshire, which holds some of Scotland’s most dangerous young criminals.
Lord Uist said: “It has been over six months since the trial. It is most unfortunate in this case that there has been this long a delay since the conviction. It is not in the public interest or the accused’s interest that this should be delayed any further.”
He ordered NHS Forth Valley, NHS Lothian and NHS Greater Glasgow to release the records, and for Liddell’s defence team to tell the court when they have been received.
Liddell’s defence want his medical history reviewed by Professor David Cooke, an expert in psychopathic personality disorder at Glasgow Caledonian University. Liddell was just five when he was shot in the arm and chest by Thomas Hamilton during the 1996 Dunblane Primary School massacre in which 16 of his primary one classmates and his teacher were killed.
Lord Uist further deferred the case to a sitting of the High Court in Aberdeen on 16 January, adding that the situation was “most unfortunate”.
It means the victim’s 51-year-old son, who sat through every day of the trial and has already attended four subsequent hearings, faces a 220-mile round trip from his home in Dunblane to Aberdeen, despite knowing he still will not see justice for his mother.
Liddell was found guilty of assaulting the pensioner with intent to rape her and to the danger of her life.
Liddell’s trial heard that he had noticed the grandmother-of-two’s door was ajar, and told her he was her carer and that he was there to give her a shower.
The former Little Chef cook then launched a “senseless and brutal” assault, and repeatedly punched and kicked his victim on the head as she lay on the ground.
He ripped off the retired nurse’s clothes before dragging her through to her bedroom and telling her he wanted to have sex with her.
Liddell was forced to flee when her neighbours, alerted by muffled screams, ran downstairs to find her lying naked in her living room in a pool of blood, bruised and battered with two broken teeth.
It emerged after he had been convicted that Liddell had been let off with a fine just nine months before the attack for climbing into an 83-year-old man’s bed in the middle of the night.