Teen too scared to leave house after being stabbed in the heart

A TEENAGER who was stabbed in the heart after a party in Edinburgh was so traumatised that she is now scared to go out.

Heavily-pregnant Nicola Tweed was sent to prison yesterday by a judge who warned her she faced a jail sentence "of some length".

Tweed's victim suffered a cardiac arrest in hospital after the attack and had to be resuscitated before being operated on.

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The High Court in Edinburgh heard that as a result of the attack and operation Zoe Mitchell, who was 17 at the time of the attack, was left with "a scar which stretches from her neck to her navel".

Miss Mitchell is now more cautious when she goes out and gets a fright if someone approaches her from behind.

Temporary judge Kenneth Maciver told Tweed: "The victim of this assault has come close to death and it is, on any view, a serious matter."

After the stabbing Tweed, 38, fled from the scene but was detained by police the following day after she called them to her then partner's flat following a domestic incident. When officers arrived she told them: "I ken you want me for the stabbing."

Tweed, formerly of Cables Wynd House, in Edinburgh, was originally charged with attempting to murder Miss Mitchell at Persevere Court in North Leith Mill on 13 December, 2008. But the Crown accepted her guilty plea to a reduced charge of assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of life.

The court heard that unemployed Tweed, now of Wishaw, in Lanarkshire, is currently in "an advanced state of pregnancy" and is due to give birth in April.

Advocate depute Leanne Cross said Tweed and Miss Mitchell were known to each before the attack but were not friends.

Miss Mitchell and friends had visited a flat in the block at Persevere Court and were drinking. Tweed was with her friends in another flat in the block.

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The prosecutor said that the two groups joined up about midnight and at around 2am an argument broke out between Tweed and Miss Mitchell which turned into a physical fight.

Tweed was asked to leave the flat and returned to the upstairs flat where she had been earlier.

Miss Mitchell decided to confront Tweed and repeatedly banged on the flat door and shouted for her to come out.

Tweed opened the door and Miss Mitchell and two friends who had followed her saw she was brandishing a kitchen knife. She stabbed Miss Mitchell in the chest.

She tried to head for the stairs but collapsed in the hallway, as Tweed went back into the flat and closed the door.

A neighbour heard a female voice screaming and found the victim struggling to breathe. She was found to have a puncture wound to her chest and police and paramedics were called.

The prosecutor said that when surgeons opened up the sac around the victim's heart they found a large amount of blood and used two sutures to close a wound on her heart. Doctors said that she would have died without prompt medical intervention.

Defence counsel Frank Gallagher asked for Tweed's bail to be continued while background reports are prepared ahead of sentencing next month.

However, the judge remanded her in custody and said: "I am satisfied the prison authorities will be able to deal appropriately should any matters arise during the next two weeks or so."