Tayside and Central Scotland

98-year-old Sylvester Nowak on murder bid charges

Birch Row, Scone
Image caption The officer was injured at a house in Birch Row in Scone

A 98-year-old man has appeared in private at Perth Sheriff Court on two charges of attempted murder.

Sylvester Nowak is alleged to have used an axe and a knife to try to kill two female police officers at his home in Birch Row, Scone, on Tuesday afternoon.

The 98-year-old, who is believed to be the oldest person ever to be held in custody by Scottish police, made no plea or declaration.

Mr Nowak was sent to Murray Royal psychiatric hospital to be assessed.

The assessment order lasts 28 days.

In a private hearing before Sheriff Peter Hammond, the Polish war veteran was accused of severely injuring Pc Shona Beattie, 42, and attempting to murder her by stabbing her on the arm with a knife.

He was also alleged to have tried to murder her colleague Pc Katie Deas, 23, by attempting to strike her head and body with a knife and an axe.

Hearing aids

Proceedings were delayed until the end of the court roll, as Mr Nowak was said to have severe difficulty with his hearing.

An attempt was made to move the case to a different courtroom with specialised infra-red circuitry for people with hearing aids.

However, Mr Nowak was still said to be unable to hear sufficiently and the case was delayed for a further two hours, and moved back to the original courtroom.

It has emerged that the pensioner, who lives on his own in the Perthshire village of Scone, had been in hospital at Perth Royal Infirmary until the day before the alleged incident.

A Tayside Police spokesman confirmed that officers had been called to his address after a carer had called in to report concerns about his welfare.

A force spokesman said: "By the nature of the job officers are sometimes faced with dangers. One officer has been left with a significant arm injury.

"The other officer was uninjured. Officers had attended at the address because there were concerns for an elderly man's welfare. It was a carer that raised the alarm.

"Two officers attended, which would be deemed appropriate. This incident happened upon their arrival and then a number of further officers attended at the scene to assist."

Mr Nowak, who is known locally as Eddie, formerly worked as a welder for a coachworks firm in Perthshire and was formerly a prisoner of the Nazis during the war.

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