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Woman stabbed to death by her foster child 'wanted to help kids'

Dawn McKenzie was stabbed by the teenager she and her husband were looking after at their home in Lanarkshire.

Dawn McKenzie. Killed by foster son

A woman killed by her 13-year-old foster child was a kind and caring person who had an affinity with children, her husband has told an inquiry.

Dawn McKenzie, 34, was stabbed by the teenager she and her husband Bryan were looking after at their home in Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, in 2011.

A fatal accident inquiry into the circumstances of her death heard that Mrs McKenzie decided to look into becoming a foster carer after years working as a nursery nurse.

Mr McKenzie, 40, told the inquiry in Motherwell, North Lanarkshire: "She was a very sweet, kind girl, very caring. She was a strong person as well, very determined and very hard-working."

The couple, who did not have children of their own, began looking into fostering in 2010 after Mrs McKenzie saw a newspaper advert and told her husband it was something she was interested in.

They made inquiries with Foster Care Associates and undertook a training course and assessments, the inquiry before sheriff David Bicket at the GLO Centre was told.

Mr McKenzie, a joiner, said: "She felt she had a lot more to give. She had really taken herself as far as she could as a nursery nurse.

"She had a real affinity with kids and she wanted to help. This was the logical next step for her and I was supportive of her."

The boy was detained for seven years after admitting culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

Day one of the inquiry heard the McKenzies lived in a two-bedroom flat in Hamilton and had been married for almost 11 years when Mrs McKenzie was killed on June 24, 2011.

She had previously worked at a private nursery in East Kilbride and had been promoted to deputy manager before applying to become a foster carer.

She enjoyed cooking, music and spending time with her family, the inquiry heard.

Mr McKenzie said of their decision to foster: "We saw it as a new challenge for both of us."

Procurator fiscal depute Carrie Macfarlane showed the inquiry documents relating to the application, training and vetting process.

A feedback form from a training course stated that Mrs McKenzie showed "excellent knowledge and understanding" and a reference from her employer described her as an "excellent child practitioner".

The inquiry heard that the couple were keen to foster one or two children up to 16 years of age.

Mr McKenzie said his wife was keen to work with school-age children to extend her experience.

The pair underwent extensive checks on their background, health, finances and home safety.

Ms Macfarlane asked Mr McKenzie about a reference in the documents to the appropriate storage of kitchenware and where they kept their kitchen knives.

He said they were stored in a drawer with a child-proof lock on it.

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