Sentenced to jail for Forfar killing

A WOMAN has been jailed for almost six years for killing Robert Brereton at his Forfar home earlier this year.

Melanie Stevenson (45) admitted culpable homicide after psychiatrists agreed she was suffering from dininished responsibility at the time of the attack.

A court heard that Stevenson had previously suffered years of physical and sexual abuse before stabbing Brereton, her “best friend ever” and a man who had shown her nothing but kindness, 26 times.

The court also heard that Stevenson remembered nothing of the night in March earlier this year at Manor Court, Forfar which was her home at the time.

Her former partner Mr Brereton had travelled from his home in Bonnybridge to visit her.

Defence QC Murray Macara said that she did not even remember him arriving.

Advocate depute Jennifer Bain, prosecuting told the court that Stevenson had lept 15 feet from the window of the flat breaking her hip in the process.

When police caught up with her she was rambling incoherently about previous violence in her life and claiming that she had not meant to hurt anyone.

The court also heard that Stevenson had first received psychiatric care when she was 20.

She has a long history of drink problems, depression and taking overdoses but the psychiatrists said that the violence was out of character.

They added that Stevenson’s background and mental difficulties had resulted in her “misperceiving threat where none was intended.”

Judge, Lord Kinclaven, passing sentence, said that Stevenson had been responsible for bringing about the death of Mr Brereton but the evidence of four psychiatrists was not in dispute.

He said: “Tragically, you described him as your best friend ever.

“You described him as a kind and caring person and his relationship with you was a supportive one.”

Giving the sentence of five years and ten months the judge said that if she had not pleaded guilty at the earliest possible stage, the sentence would have been nine years.

He added: “This is a tragedy for all concerned.”