Knife attack OAP claims love drove him insane

AN 85-year-old who stabbed a pensioner 14 times after she spurned his romantic advances told how she drove him "insane" in a rambling prison confession.

Former boxer Joseph McGorman, of Corstorphine, wrote a letter of goodbye to a neighbour from his cell after being arrested over the attack on 74-year-old charity shop worker Benedicta McLean.

McGorman wrote "I was driven insane by this woman", before stating he knew he would never see his neighbour again, stressing he hoped someone "better" would now move into his home. It was the only reference he made to the attack in the letter which was sent about three weeks ago.

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The neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, told the Evening News: "Joe was a funny man and he could be very helpful – but his demon was drink."

She described McGorman as a strong man, despite his years, who "could have beaten anyone to a pulp". She said: "I remember him telling me that years ago he was attacked in Leith by three young boys, but he fought back, knocking their teeth out."

McGorman, of Ladywell Road, appeared at the High Court in Edinburgh yesterday to plead guilty to assaulting married charity shop worker Mrs McLean to the danger of her life and leaving her permanently scarred.

The alcoholic had known Mrs McLean for about two-and-a-half years before the attack on 14 October last year. She had befriended him, helping him out with clothing and household items, as well as occasionally paying visits to his home.

Two weeks before the attack a tearful McGorman told a mutual friend he loved Mrs McLean but that he had fallen out with her.

Advocate depute Alex Prentice QC, prosecuting, said he told another friend she was "the only woman he had ever loved" and that he was going to "slit her throat then jump off the Forth Bridge".

An hour before he attacked Mrs McLean outside her Clermiston home, she had gone shopping, finding him waiting for her on the corner of the street.

Mr Prentice said: "The accused told her that he loved her and she told him that she did not need his love as she was married and that she would no longer be going to his house.

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"The accused appeared to understand and shook Mrs McLean's hand before kissing her on the cheek.

"The two then parted company and went off in opposite directions."

McGorman then went to her house and waited in her garden until she returned home around 12pm, stabbing her with a small knife.

Passers-by noticed McGorman walking fast and muttering to himself, along with blood on his jumper.

Police caught up with him in nearby Drum Brae South where he told them: "You can push a person too far but you can only take so much. I didn't sleep for six nights. It's a terrible thing. I have had no food or drink."

McGorman added: "If this goes to court, whatever the lady says is right."

And when formally interviewed he confessed: "It happened. It was me that done it."

Judge Lord Pentland remanded McGorman in custody and called for background reports. He is due to be sentenced next month in Dumbarton.


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VICTIM Benedicta McLean is "not bitter" about the attack which left her seriously injured, the court heard.

Mrs McLean suffered seven cuts to her face, four injuries to her right hand and fingers, two cuts to her left hand and a stab wound to her abdomen which cut into her liver.

The court heard that as a result of the attack, Mrs McLean's husband, who suffers from dementia, had gone into care while she now needs help in her home.

Yesterday, McGorman's neighbours described their shock at what he had done, insisting he was a pleasant, sociable man, yet stressing he had a problem with alcohol.

McGorman told police, following his arrest, that he was a heavy drinker, downing five glasses of whisky before 7am that day.

Defence advocate Ronnie Renucci described the stabbing as a "very sad case on a number of different levels".

Mrs McLean did not wish to speak about the case when approached by the Evening News other than to say that she was "fine".