Court to decide if man accused of severing disabled woman’s hand in Dundee should stand trial

A court will decide next week whether a man accused of severing a disabled woman’s hand is fit to stand trial.

Sandra McGowan

Stephen Brisbane, 33, is alleged to have carried out the horrific Valentine’s Day attack on Sandra McGowan (pictured) after wandering uninvited into her sheltered home in Charleston.

Various medical reports presented to the High Court in Glasgow have differed over Brisbane’s mental state, with some finding him unfit to face trial and another claiming he could stand trial.

A final decision on whether to proceed with a trial or order Brisbane to be treated in hospital is expected to be reached by the court next week.

Yesterday was Brisbane’s fifth court appearance without plea, and advocate depute Richard Goddard admitted the case had “dragged on”.

Police after the alleged incident in February last year

He said: “The position is that the court may be able to make an order for treatment, but in absence of confirmation that there are beds available, the case would need to be continued.

“If the court comes to the decision he is fit to plead, we would need to proceed to trial. It is of concern the accused remains within a prison setting.

“There is an agreement from all parties that there is a degree of urgency.”

The court was told Brisbane was “anxious” for the case to be resolved and he showed visible signs of agitation in the dock.

He is accused of entering Ms McGowan’s home, demanding drugs and money, searching her handbag and purse, stealing an electronic door fob, remote controls and a mobile phone holder.

He is further accused of assaulting the pensioner, seizing hold of her wrist and severing her hand with a knife, causing her to lose consciousness.

Prosecutors claim Brisbane then took the hand away, robbed Miss McGowan of a ring and failed to seek medical assistance for her.

He is also accused of threatening his sister with violence at an address in Dundee, demanding her mobile phone and stealing a phone.