Glasgow & West Scotland

Foster carer killing: Inquiry told of boy's rivalry with siblings

Dawn McKenzie
Image caption Dawn McKenzie began caring for the child in 2010, seven months before he stabbed her

A fatal accident inquiry has heard that a boy who killed his foster mother "wanted to be the centre of attention".

The child's former foster carer, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told the inquiry that the boy was upset that his sisters got more attention from his parents than he did.

She began caring for the child in 2009, before he was moved to live with the McKenzies.

Dawn McKenzie was stabbed by the 13-year-old in her Hamilton home in 2011.

The inquiry previously heard that the boy's former foster carer looked after him and his two sisters until October 2010, but this ended abruptly after the carer's father became ill.

The boy was then separated from his sisters and sent to live with Mrs McKenzie and her husband Bryan.

'Quite intimidating'

Giving evidence to the inquiry, the carer said contact between the boy, his biological mother and his mother's partner was very difficult.

She said that the boy's mother and her partner could be quite intimidating at meetings of the children's panel.

The carer also told the inquiry about an incident where the child was threatened by another boy with two knives.

She said police were told about the threat, and that the same boy had also told another member of the carer's family: "Tell [the boy] I am going to smash him."

The carer said she feared the reaction of the boy's family to this, would be to come to the area and take matters into their own hands.

The inquiry also heard that the boy had watched pornographic content and that he told his then foster carers that he had watched pornographic films at his mother and her partner's home.

Sibling rivalry

With regard to sibling rivalry, the former carer said it was almost like "survival of the loudest" and said that the children did not like sharing.

She said she had discussed with workers whether the boy would be better in a single placement, but said that she had got a great deal from looking after the children.

The carer told the inquiry that at the beginning of his placement with her the boy could not accept not winning.

She told how he would go into a mood if he lost, for example, at football, but said that he calmed down as the placement went on.

The inquiry was told that the boy enjoyed school and was doing really well.

The former carer described an occasion when the child got into a fight with a boy at school, following a panel meeting, she said this was unusual and had to be seen in the context of what had happened that week.

She added that she "never ever felt at risk" when the child lived with her.

Becoming tearful, the former foster carer told the inquiry it had been "a very, very hard decision" to give the boy and his sisters up.

She said had it not been for her father's illness, she would have carried on looking after the children until social workers found them a permanent placement.

The inquiry, in Motherwell, continues.

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