Offender slashes fellow prisoner’s face in Polmont YOI attack

Responding to an insult against his mother, a prisoner used an improvised blade to slash the face of a fellow inmate at Polmont Young Offenders Institution.

By Court Reporter
Wednesday, 31st July 2019, 12:35 pm

James Ritchie (21) left 18-year-old Sean Gorman with a deep wound several centimetres long down the right-hand side of his face during the attack, which was sparked by Gorman calling Ritchie’s mother a “junkie cow” among other things.

Gorman’s injury required five stitches and left him with a permanent scar.

The weapon used, which was later found on the ledge outside Ritchie’s cell window, was fashioned by melting a blade into a ball point pen.

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Gorman is no stranger to blades himself, having received a seven year, nine month stretch for attempting to murder a Syrian refugee with a knife in an Edinburgh hostel.

Appearing from custody at Stirling Sheriff Court on Tuesday, Ritchie had pled guilty to the assault to severe injury and permanent disfigurement he committed at the YOI back in November last year. He also admitted possessing an offensive weapon.

Cheryl Clark, procurator fiscal depute, said the incident was recorded on CCTV at the YOI during association time and showed Gorman standing at the door of his own cell, facing inwards.

She said: “The accused is seen to approach him from behind and slash him on the face. Gorman can then be seen feeling his face and looking at his hand as if noticing blood.”

Warders intervened as the pair began “trading blows”.

Eddie Robertson, defence solicitor, said: “Gorman had called Mr Ritchie’s mother a junkie cow and used other untoward phrases.”

Sheriff Wyllie Robertson deferred sentence until September 4 for a post-release supervision report, but remanded Ritchie, of Newarthill, Lanarkshire, to Addiewell Prison, West Lothian, saying, “custody is inevitable”.