A TEENAGER who stabbed a terrified woman he had never met during what he claimed was a legal high-induced “blackout” has escaped a prison sentence.
Joe Dallas, 16, faced jail after carrying out a completely random daylight attack on defenceless Timea Borsos in a Wester Hailes park.
But after considering a “significant” period of detention, a sheriff instead put the teenager on 30 months of supervision and ordered him to do 130 hours of community service.
Dallas was also told to pay the 31-year-old victim – described as “traumatised” by her ordeal – £500 in compensation during a hearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court yesterday. The teenager will pay her £10 every two weeks from his fortnightly £113 in unemployment benefits.
Sheriff Frank Crowe had called for a psychiatric report on Dallas before sentencing in a bid to “get to the bottom of how this happened”. However, the psychiatrist gave Dallas a clean bill of mental health.
Dallas had binged on cannabis and legal highs for two months before selecting Ms Borsos at random and stabbing her with a seven-inch knife in Hailes Quarry Park on July 29 last year.
Defence solicitor Angus McLennan told the court that his client had suffered “difficulties in his home life” throughout his teenage years.
Mr McLennan added: “I don’t seek to suggest it can possibly excuse his behaviour but it perhaps explains the road he took and his abuse of legal highs and cannabis, which increased to a significant degree in the time before the incident.
“The seriousness of this matter is not lost on Mr Dallas. He was shocked when he realised what he had done and what could have been the further consequences of his actions.
“It’s been a turbulent time for him, but he has done a great deal of growing up since the commission of this offence.”
Mr McLennan said Dallas – who had no previous convictions – was “vulnerable” and could fall victim to “antisocial relationships” with other offenders if jailed. He said: “There’s a benefit to keeping him out of that situation.”
The court heard previously that Dallas had followed Ms Borsos before asking her the time. After walking on ahead, Ms Borsos was aware of Dallas running and then felt a sharp pain in her shoulder as he stabbed her.
She suffered a one-and-a-half inch slash wound and needed stitches.
The court previously heard Dallas, who had been abusing legal highs and cannabis at an increasing rate for two months prior to the attack, had claimed to have “blacked out” and not been “in control of his own behaviour”.
Before imposing a community-based sentence, Sheriff Crowe said: “You’re a young man but this is a serious matter. I’ve thought at various stages that the appropriate sentence was a significant one of detention.”