Tayside and Central Scotland

Melanie Stevenson jailed for killing 'best friend'

Robert Brereton
Image caption Robert Brereton suffered 26 stab wounds during the attack

A woman who experienced years of physical and sexual abuse has been jailed for almost six years for killing a man who had shown her only kindness.

Melanie Stevenson admitted the culpable homicide of 47-year-old Robert Brereton, who she stabbed 26 times at her home in Forfar in March.

Lord Kinclaven jailed Stevenson, 45, for five years and 10 months.

Passing sentence at the High Court in Edinburgh, the judge told her: "This is a tragedy for all concerned."

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."

The court had heard that Stevenson admitted culpable homicide after psychiatrists agreed she was suffering from diminished responsibility at the time of the attack.

'Remembered nothing'

Mr Brereton, Stevenson's former boyfriend, had travelled to visit her at her home in Forfar.

The court was told that she remembered nothing of the night of the attack.

Advocate depute Jennifer Bain, prosecuting, said that following the stabbing, Stevenson leapt 15ft from the window of the flat, breaking her hip.

Mr Brereton's family criticised the sentence as they left court.

His niece, 19-year-old Sharon Burns, said: "I think it is scandalous that she has got away with it. Basically, she has got away with murder."

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