Skip to main content

Dawn McKenzie murder sentencing – foster carers should not be deterred by tragic but isolated case

Following today’s sentencing of a 14 year old boy for killing his foster carer Dawn McKenzie; the Scottish Association of Social Work (SASW) has described the case as “highly unusual”, and hopes that potential carers will not be deterred from fostering as a result.

Ms McKenzie was stabbed at her home in Hamilton by the 14 year old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons. He was 13 when he killed Ms McKenzie, and has today been ordered to be detained for seven years after being found guilty of culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Commenting on today’s sentencing, SASW Manager Ruth Stark said:“This is an extremely tragic case, but a highly unusual one. Several psychiatrists have said that the boy’s violent act could not have been predicted. Reports have suggested that he was due to go on holiday with Ms McKenzie, which shows that his attack was unpredictable.

“This is a highly unusual case and should not deter people from fostering children. Sadly, it is more often the case that foster carers abuse children rather than the other way round. But either way, the numbers of incidents of abuse between foster carers and the children they foster, are very small. There are many, many more cases of successful fostering arrangements that have had a transformational effect on the lives of disadvantaged young people”.