A UNIVERSITY student knifed a classmate as she sat eating her lunch at a safari park.
Christopher Blaikie stabbed Claire Mazzucchi, his former flatmate, in the neck.
A judge heard how the pair – both studying psychology at Stirling University – had fallen out when Miss Mazzucchi began to feel uneasy living with him. The 22-year-old – who told the court there had been “no issues” between them at the time of the stabbing – luckily survived the unprovoked attack at Blair Drummond Safari Park.
Blaikie, from Livingston, claimed he had struck due to “homicidal thoughts” and now faces a lengthy jail term after he pleaded guilty to attempted murder at the High Court in Glasgow.
Prosecutor Shirley McKenna told how students from the psychology course were giving a presentation to safari park staff as part of their final-year dissertation.
The staff and students were later having lunch that day in the safari park canteen.
But the court heard Blaikie was very quiet and not eating. He then became “increasingly agitated” and bizarrely started banging his cutlery. He suddenly got up and marched across to Miss Mazzucchi’s table and stood behind her.
Miss McKenna told the court: “He was seen to put his right hand over her face and wrap his arms around her neck in a headlock position.
“He made two or three stabbing motions . . . whereby he stabbed her once on the left-hand side of her neck with a knife.”
As other stunned students became aware of the horror, one jumped up and rugby-tackled Blaikie. The blade, meantime, remained in the neck of his hysterical victim, but she yanked the weapon out.
A 999 call was then made for a blood-soaked Miss Mazzucchi. As she was rushed to hospital, Blaikie, 24, was arrested. He told officers that he had kept a four-inch knife in his rucksack.
Miss Mazzucchi required surgery for the wound to her neck. The injury was described as “potentially life threatening” and she will be scarred for life.
The court heard she is also a keen dancer and the attack impacted on that. Miss McKenna added: “The incident has left her feeling vulnerable and wary when she goes out.”
Blaikie has since been diagnosed as suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome – a form of autism. But the court was told he did not suffer from a mental illness and was able to “appreciate the wrongfulness of his conduct” at the time.
The advocate depute said: “He could distinguish between right and wrong on the day of the offence though his violent actions were out of character.”
Judge Lord Turnbull deferred sentencing for reports until January 18 in Edinburgh.