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Lanarkshire killer knifed lover 57 times after hospital release

Crime scene at Biggar
Image caption Joanne Gallacher was killed in a flat in Biggar

A man stabbed his girlfriend to death just hours after being released from hospital.

Joanne Gallacher had been worried about James Kennedy being freed from hospital after he claimed to have swallowed weed killer on 21 December last year.

Kennedy, 32, went on to attack Ms Gallacher at his home in Biggar, inflicting a total of 57 wounds.

Prosecutors accepted his plea of culpable homicide due to diminished responsibility.

Ms Gallacher, of East Kilbride, had visited Kennedy two days before she died.

He claimed to have downed weed killer and she immediately called for an ambulance.

On the day of her death, Ms Gallacher had contacted the hospital to express concerns about him being sent home.

But Kennedy, who had previous psychiatric issues, was discharged from Wishaw General Hospital.

‘He needed help’

The High Court in Glasgow heard a psychiatric nurse had phoned Kennedy after his release from hospital, providing advice and additional numbers should he need to speak to anyone that evening.

Prosecutor Maryam Labaki said Ms Gallacher had spent the day festive shopping with her children and mother in Glasgow.

Later that night she took a taxi to Kennedy’s flat, telling the driver her boyfriend “was in a bad place”.

Miss Labaki said: “She said she had been arguing with psychiatrists all day because he needed help.”

Image copyright Spindrift
Image caption James Kennedy admitted stabbing Joanne Gallacher to death

A neighbour of Kennedy heard Ms Gallacher arriving and was soon alerted to Kennedy’s voice getting “louder”, then the sound of screaming which he believed was “of somebody being murdered.”

Kennedy called police around midnight stating there had been a “murder in the kitchen”, adding: “It was me”.

Police arrived to find the killer calm and covered in blood. Ms Gallacher was found dead on the kitchen floor.

The 33-year-old mother suffered 44 stab wounds as well as at least 13 “incised” wounds.

Kennedy later told police: “It was me that done it. There was not anyone else. I was in shock.”

Medics concluded that the killer was suffering from an abnormality of the mind at the time due to a “delusional disorder”.

Kennedy originally faced a murder allegation but had his guilty plea to the reduced charge accepted.

He is currently in the State Hospital at Carstairs on an interim compulsion order and will be sentenced in September in Aberdeen.

Content provided by the BBC. Original piece can be found here

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