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A woman whose violent behaviour may have been caused by taking the anti-depressant drug, Prozac, was spared a jail sentence yesterday. Louise Wheldon, 34, faced years in prison after admitting stabbing a man three times in the back with a six-inch knife.
But a sympathetic judge placed her on probation for two years and ordered her to undertake 300 hours’ unpaid work for the community. When she appeared in the High Court in Edinburgh last month, Lady Paton was told by defence advocate Alan Mackay that the offence was out of character for Wheldon, who had been on Prozac for four years following the death of her fiance.
Wheldon was not mentally ill, but a psychiatric report claimed that one of the side-effects of Prozac was violent behaviour. It was also reported that the manufacturers of the drug had been sued following cases of murder and suicide.
When Wheldon appeared before the High Court in Glasgow for sentence yesterday Lady Paton said she was prepared to give her a chance. She told Wheldon, who cares for her 77-year-old arthritic father, that in the normal course of events she could have been sentenced to years in jail. But the judge took into account that she had a fairly good record and had shown remorse.
However, Lady Paton warned Wheldon, of Claremont Gardens, Edinburgh: ”If you are found carrying a knife or using a weapon, a very serious view will be taken.” At the first hearing of the case in Edinburgh last month, mother- of-two Wheldon admitted stabbing 49-year-old Mr William Ross on October 19 last year in Canon Street, Edinburgh. Wheldon had originally been charged with attempted murder but the Crown accepted a plea to the lesser charge of assault to severe injury.
The court heard that in a pub confrontation Wheldon accused Mr Ross of spreading rumours about her. Later in the evening as she was leaving the bar with her teenage son the argument continued. She produced a knife and plunged it into his back three times as he turned away. Yesterday, Mr Mackay told Lady Paton that if Wheldon was sent to jail she would be a very vulnerable prisoner because medical reports revealed a risk of self harm. Afterwards, Wheldon walked from court with relatives refusing to make any comment.