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Last Updated: Friday, 8 September 2006, 17:44 GMT 18:44 UK
Man admits attack on US tourist
Marty Layman-Mendonca - Pic: Spindrift
Marty Layman-Mendonca was on her third Scottish visit
A 34-year-old man has pleaded guilty to trying to murder an American tourist near Inverness, leaving her in a coma.

Colin Ross used a metal pipe and a rock to attack Marty Layman-Mendonca, 57, on 5 July. She was left badly brain damaged and remains in hospital.

The High Court in Glasgow heard the schoolteacher from Vermont was attacked on her third visit to Scotland.

Sentence on Ross, from Inverness, who was deemed a potential danger to women, was deferred for background reports.

The court heard how Ross, of Waterloo Place, had set a trap for a female victim on the Great Glen Way.

Ms Layman-Mendonca was on her way back into the city when she was attacked. She was on her third visit to Scotland and considered it "the most welcoming place on earth".

Ross admitted attempting to murder his victim by repeatedly striking her on the head and body with a metal pipe and a boulder.

He also admitted carrying her into a wood, dumping her and stealing her possessions before tying her wrists together with shoelaces.

German tourist

Ms Layman-Mendonca, a committed Christian, was dropped off by a friend at Blackfold at about 1130 BST on the day of the attack. She said she could walk the last six miles of the Great Glen Way.

Ross was walking in the same area and he told police that after their paths crossed he "became enraged" and decided to attack her.

The court heard how Ross, who attacked a female German tourist in 2004, followed his victim for 10 yards, engaged her in conversation and then "went into a frenzy".

He repeatedly hit her on the head with a metal pipe and a boulder before stealing the rucksack from her back and rifling through the pockets of her walking shorts for cash.

The High Court in Glasgow
Ross admitted the attack at Glasgow's High Court

Ross then tied Ms Layman-Mendonca's wrists with shoelaces, leaving her unconscious and bleeding heavily.

The woman was found in a ditch beside the track by a police officer with a dog.

Alastair Kennedy, prosecuting, described her injuries.

He said: "While there is a little clinical evidence of slight recovery at this stage, specialist neurosurgical opinion tends to the view that eventual recovery will amount to little better than a persistent vegetative state."

Defence QC Derek Ogg said his client knew he had violent tendencies. He had asked for anger management and drink and drug counselling.

Raising funds

Judge Lord Wheatley called for a social inquiry report on Ross and the defence will provide a report from a forensic psychologist. He is due to return to court on 3 October.

Friends of Ms Layman-Mendonca are understood to be raising funds to have her repatriated to the United States.

On 29 June, the authorities were granted an interim Sexual Offences Prevention Order by a sheriff at Dingwall Sheriff Court because of the threat Ross posed to women.

A Northern Constabulary spokesman said: "Our thoughts are with Marty Layman-Medonca and her family at this difficult time.

"We acknowledge the events at Glasgow High Court but given sentence has been deferred for reports it would be inappropriate to comment at this time."

Man accused of attack on tourist
14 Jul 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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