Legal high teen faces jail for ‘blackout’ stabbing

Joe Dallas had been abusing legal highs and cannabis at an increasing rate. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

Joe Dallas had been abusing legal highs and cannabis at an increasing rate. Picture: Phil Wilkinson

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A TEENAGER faces jail after stabbing a terrified woman during a legal high induced “blackout”.

Joe Dallas, 16, was a normal teenager until he began abusing easy-to-get-hold-of legal highs and cannabis.

He now faces a potential jail sentence after carrying out a completely random daylight attack during a drug-fuelled frenzy.

Dallas had been abusing the drugs for two months prior to the stabbing in Wester Hailes and “did not feel in control of his own behaviour” when he targeted the victim.

He was due to be sentenced yesterday at Edinburgh Sheriff Court after admitting carrying out the callous attack on defenceless Timea Borsos.

But Sheriff Frank Crowe ordered a psychiatric report to be compiled, telling him: “We need to get to the bottom of how this happened, and how it can be prevented from happening again.”

The court heard Dallas had never met 31-year-old Ms Borsos when he selected her at random on a path leading to Hailes Quarry Park.

Ms Borsos had left her home at around 11.10am on July 29 last year and soon became aware of Dallas following behind her.

She became increasingly nervous and stopped to let Dallas pass her. Dallas also stopped and asked her the time. After walking on ahead, Ms Borsos was aware of Dallas running and then felt a sharp pain in her shoulder as the teenager stabbed her.

A passer-by – who was a nurse – ran to help the victim as she screamed in agony while Dallas fled.

Ms Borsos had a one-and-a-half inch slash to her shoulder and needed stitches at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

The court heard Dallas returned to his home and told his partner he had done “something stupid”.

Police recovered the knife – a seven-inch long stainless steel blade – near the scene of the stabbing and also found Dallas’s jacket, which he had taken off.

The attack sparked a police manhunt and public appeal for witnesses, which led to Dallas’s arrest two days after the incident.

The sheriff was given a witness impact statement where Ms Borsos described being “traumatised” by her ordeal.

Defence solicitor Angus McLennan said the case involved a “very peculiar set of circumstances” as Dallas had no previous convictions.

Mr McLennan said his client had been “abusing legal highs and cannabis at an increasing rate for two months prior to the incident”.

The solicitor added: “He describes blacking out and not feeling in control of his own behaviour. But he takes full responsibility for his actions.

“It was not that he went out to mug someone, it was more random than that.”

Dallas, of West Winnelstrae, will be sentenced on April 29.

UNCONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

LEGAL highs are substances which mimic the effects of drugs such as cocaine and ecstasy but are not controlled by the Misuse of Drugs Act.

Nationally, the number of deaths linked to their use has grown from ten in 2009 to at least 68 in 2012.

Common brand names given to legal highs include Meow Meow and Benzo Fury. A recent major Edinburgh conference on their increasing use was told a national information network to inform users what they are taking should be introduced. At present such a scheme operates in Wales, but not in Scotland.

Abuse of legal highs and cannabis have both been linked to brain damage and an increased prevalence to schizophrenia. Last year, Richard Phillips, 26, was left severely brain damaged after taking the now banned LSD copycat drug N-Bomb at a party.

Legal highs “have been directly linked to emergency hospital admissions and, in some cases, deaths” the government advisory body, Frank, admitted.