Spurned admirer, 85, admits knife attack on the only woman he ever loved, aged 74

SHE was the only woman he had ever loved and, at 85, Joseph McGorman had waited a long time for Cupid's arrow to strike.

But when Benedicta McLean, 74, rejected his advances, it was too much for him to bear.

McGorman lay in wait until she returned home from the shops, planning to slit her throat and throw himself from the Forth Road Bridge.

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She survived his frenzied knife attack, while he was caught by the police within minutes near the scene of the crime in Edinburgh, telling them: "You can push a person too far … you can only take so much."

Yesterday, the High Court in Edinburgh heard McGorman's victim, who has been scarred for life, felt no bitterness towards him and was sorry about what had happened.

McGorman, from Corstorphine, Edinburgh, admitted assaulting Mrs McLean to the danger of her life at her home in Clermiston Road on 14 October last year.

Advocate-depute Alex Prentice, QC, said McGorman had never been in a relationship, and was a heavy drinker. He came to know Mrs McLean through a mutual friend about two years ago.

"She assisted him by providing him with friendship, clothing and household items. She occasionally attended his home to see how he was. He appears to have formed the view that the friendship was much deeper and more significant than it actually was," said Mr Prentice.

Mrs McLean's husband suffered from dementia, and she was his sole carer. In the weeks before the attack, McGorman was noted by a friend to have become "jealous and obsessive".

He revealed to another friend that he had fallen out with Mrs McLean, saying he loved her and that she was the only woman he had ever loved. He had also said he was going to slit her throat, take a taxi to the bridge and jump off.

On the day of the attack, Mrs McLean left her house to go shopping and met McGorman, who had been waiting for her.

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"He told her he loved her, and she told him she did not need his love as she was married, and that she would no longer be going to his house," said Mr Prentice. "He appeared to understand and shook her hand before kissing her on the cheek. The two then parted and went in opposite directions."

About 90 minutes later, Mrs McLean returned home. McGorman had been waiting.

"He stabbed her several times on the face and body, then made off. She picked up a stone and threw it at him as he left," said Mr Prentice.

Witnesses saw the bloodstained McGorman hurrying from the scene, muttering to himself. A neighbour found Mrs McLean standing at her garden gate and called the police and an ambulance. McGorman was detained. He said: "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."

The defence counsel, Ronnie Renucci, said McGorman had a single previous conviction, for assault more than 25 years ago. He had been jailed for three months on that occasion.

Mr Renucci reserved a full plea in mitigation until background reports had been prepared on McGorman whom the judge, Lord Pentland, remanded in custody until the sentencing hearing.