Theresa Riggi slasher guilty of jail attack

Theresa Riggi was attacked in her cell at Cornton Vale.
Theresa Riggi was attacked in her cell at Cornton Vale.
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A FEMALE prisoner who slashed monster mother Theresa Riggi with a razor in Scotland’s only all-women jail was today facing another jail term.

Angela Hamilton sneaked into Riggi’s cell at Cornton Vale Prison, Stirling, after breakfast and cut her face with a razor blade.

She left Riggi lying on her cell with her face covered in blood and a clump of her hair missing from her head.

Hamilton then calmly walked back to her cell as prison guards rushed to Riggi’s aid - alerted by her screaming.

Hamilton, 40, denied the attack but a jury of 10 women and five men at Stirling Sheriff Court took little over an hour to find her guilty by majority.

Her lawyer, Murray Aitken, said Hamilton suffered from a variety of problems including drug abuse.

Sheriff William Gilchrist deferred sentence until October 3 for background reports, and released Hamilton on bail.

Hamilton appeared for trial in a multi-coloured summer dress, brightly coloured headbands, and a mass of jewellery and pendants, including a Celtic cross on a silver-coloured chain.

She made no comment after the verdict.

The incident occurred on November 19, 2011, while Hamilton was in jail serving a sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Riggi was in Cornton Vale during her first year of a 16-year sentence imposed for killing her three young children in Edinburgh, in a crime which shocked the country.

The court heard she was regarded as “a high-profile” prisoner.

During the two-day trial, prison officer Calum Graham told how he went to Riggi’s cell that morning after hearing screaming, saw Hamilton leaving the cell and then Riggi lying on the floor inside with blood on her face, still screaming.

His colleague James McCabe said his hands and clothing became “covered in Riggi’s blood” as he tried to help her.

The court was told Riggi, originally from California, USA, had a history of self harm which was on record in prison, and had been diagnosed with a personality disorder and paranoia.

She tried to kill herself twice in prison a week after being assaulted by Hamilton.

Jurors heard Riggi was found with a “ligature round her neck walking towards a set of stairs” on November 26, 2011, before being saved by prison staff.

Later that same day she was found “drowsy and incoherent” in her cell and and she said she had taken “40 pills”.

Riggi was taken to Forth Valley Royal Hospital in Larbert for treatment and kept in overnight before being taken back to prison.

She had previously tried to kill herself after stabbing each of her children - eight-year-old twins Austin and Gianluca, and their sister Cecilia, five - eight times at their home in the Scottish capital in 2010.

She leapt out of the second-flood flat after trying to cover up their deaths with a gas explosion.

Riggi was originally charged with murder but admitted culpable homicide on the grounds of diminished responsibility.

The following year she was transferred to a secure mental hospital in England and was found dead in her cell there in March this year.

A coroner ruled that the 50-year-old died from natural causes at Rampton Secure Hospital in Nottinghamshire.

She was found unconscious in her room by staff at the high security unit in the early hours of March 10 and despite more than 40 minutes of resuscitation attempts, was pronounced dead.

Pathologist, Dr Geoffrey Hulman, concluded that she died from bronchial pneumonia.

He said autopsy revealed that her lungs weighed twice what they should do due to her severe chest infection and there were “no external signs of damage to her body”.

Consultant psychiatrist Dr Bernadette McInerney, who treated Riggi at Rampton, said she was “planning for the future” and had “active plans for life after incarceration”.

The coroner heard Riggi was playing guitar, socialising and going to church in the days before her death.

When Riggi was sentenced for killing her children High Court judge Lord Bracadale described her actions as “truly disturbing” and “grotesque”.

Shortly before the killings, Riggi had moved to the Scottish capital from Aberdeenshire with her children following the break-up of her marriage to their father, Pasquale Riggi.

The High Court heard that Riggi had been a protective mother who was involved in a custody battle with her estranged husband over access to the kids.

Prior to the stabbings, each carried out with a different knife, Riggi made a chilling phone call to Mr Riggi, telling him to “say goodbye”.