20 years on: 'Hero' who saved little girl's life in Edinburgh after she was stabbed 8 times in Fountain Park underground car park comes forward after Evening News appeal

A 29-year-old woman who was stabbed eight times and left for dead as a little girl has been contacted by the “hero” who saved her life 20 years ago following a public appeal through the Edinburgh Evening News.

By Jamie McKenzie
Saturday, 24th October 2020, 7:00 am

Kitrina McKenzie was just nine when she was abducted outside her grandmother’s house in Longstone, forced onto a bus and taken to an underground car park by 11-year-old Darren Cornelius at the city’s Fountain Park leisure complex where she was attacked.

Earlier this week, Kitrina made a touching appeal to find the woman at a nearby bus stop that day who had called for an ambulance after she crawled up some metal stairs and staggered towards her soaked in blood.

And this very woman contacted Kitrina through social media on Thursday night after reading about her terrifying ordeal in the Edinburgh Evening News.

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Kitrina McKenzie. Pic: Michael Gillen

Kitrina said: “I was speechless. I have been speaking to her since and I am hoping to meet up with her at some point next week.

“I am quite relieved. For many years, I have been waiting to find her but never had the courage or strength but now, after 20 years, I have that closure and can start to build my life the way I want to.”

A message exchange between the pair revealed the woman was glad to be in the “right place at the right time” to help Kitrina that "horrible” day and she also asked how Kitrina was getting on. The Edinburgh Evening News has since approached the woman for comment.

Kitrina recalled how the woman at the bus stop called for an ambulance before she passed out at the scene following the frenzied attack, which happened around 2pm on October 23, 2000 on the last day of the school half-term holidays.

Fountain Park as it is today. Pic: Andrew O'Brien

Medics at the Sick Kids Hospital said she was “very lucky” to be alive and that the blade narrowly missed her liver - and she has been left psychologically scarred.

Security guard

The latest development comes after Kitrina’s story also prompted a security guard working at Fountain Park at the time to come forward this week and tell of how he helped police quickly catch her attacker.

Brian Gould, who was the only security officer working at the time in the control room, said officers believed a grown woman had been stabbed and were looking for a man on the run, but he steered them towards footage of a boy he had noticed running away from the stairwell just minutes before.

Kitrina McKenzie. Pic: Michael Gillen

After slowing down the camera frames, the boy was seen dropping a knife and cops tracked him down within half an hour on Lothian Road.

A children’s panel hearing ordered Cornelius, who was originally charged with attempted murder, to be locked up for 17 months in secure accommodation. He escaped prosecution as lawyers argued his mental age was below the age of eight, then the age of criminal responsibility.

Since his release he has been convicted of a string of further offences and, in 2008, a High Court judge imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction on him, meaning he would be monitored for life - and possibly never released from prison - until deemed no longer to be a danger to the public, after knifing Daniel Sweeney the year before in Edinburgh.

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