South Scotland

Boy, 15, admits Dumfries footballer attack

A 15-year-old boy has admitted stabbing a promising young footballer 12 times in a street attack in Dumfries.

The assault on Shaun Handling, 17, took place on the town's Lincluden Road in May.

The schoolboy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was originally charged with attempted murder but pleaded guilty to assault to severe injury.

Sentence was deferred at the High Court in Glasgow for background reports and the opinion of the Children's Panel.

The court heard how minutes before the attack he had texted a friend to say he was going to "kill Shaun".

Advocate depute Hugh Irwin, prosecuting, said: "Both parties were seen to run at each other.

"The accused produced and brandished the knife to ward Mr Handling off."

The court was told that the schoolboy claimed that the knife was dropped by him and picked up by Mr Handling who then allegedly stabbed him on the leg with it.

Mr Handling, who was signed by Queen of the South football club, denied that.

It was disputed that the accused used the knife to stab Mr Handling 12 times.

The court heard that the previous night both teenagers had been texting saying they would fight, but no place or time was specified.

The surgeon who treated Mr Handling was of the opinion that one injury to his abdomen was life-threatening and he would be left with permanent scarring.

The 15-year-old was also taken to hospital suffering from superficial cuts to his left hand and a penetrating wound to his left leg.

The court was told that Mr Handling found it difficult to talk about the incident.

Signed contract

His mother said he had trouble sleeping and had had to take time off school.

Mr Irwin added: "He has signed a contract with Queen of the South football club and is attending physiotherapy in a bid to regain his fitness.

"As a result of this incident he does not go out socially very often."

The schoolboy admitted the reduced charge of assault to severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of life.

The plea was accepted on the grounds of diminished responsibility after a doctor determined that the 15-year-old was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and Asperger's Syndrome.

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