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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 November 2006, 14:35 GMT
Tourist dies months after attack
Marty Layman-Mendonca - Pic: Spindrift
Marty Layman-Mendonca was attacked while on holiday
A US primary school teacher who was attacked in the Highlands in the summer has died.

Marty Layman-Mendonca, 57, was left brain damaged after being attacked by Colin Ross, 34, from Inverness.

He has since admitted attempted murder but sentencing was deferred until next month for background reports.

A Crown Office spokeswoman was unable to say how the death would affect the court case, or whether a new charge of murder would be brought against Ross.

However, this may be unlikely due to the fact that the case has progressed to the point of sentencing.

Scottish legal expert Alastair Bonnington said Ross' case had now "gone so far down the road" that it would be legally inappropriate and "unfair" to revisit the matter and substitute a charge he has been facing for some time with a more serious one.

The man who did it is out of the realms of normality
Friend Jack Fraser

Ms Layman-Mendonca was on holiday in the Highlands when she was attacked while walking the Great Glen Way near Inverness in July.

The High Court in Glasgow heard how Ross struck her on the head with a metal pipe and a boulder at least 19 times and left her for dead.

She spent almost two months at Raigmore Hospital in Inverness before being flown home to the US last month. She died on Tuesday.

Her daughter, Jody, said: "I am devastated."

'Terrific person'

Jack Fraser, one of her friends in the Black Isle, near Inverness, said he did not believe Ross should ever be allowed out of prison.

He said: "The man who did it is out of the realms of normality.

"I don't think he should be allowed out."

Mr Fraser said he was shocked by Ms Layman-Mendonca's injuries when she visited her in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness after the attack.

He said: "She was in such a state I couldn't look at her for more than a few seconds. I thought I was going to fall on the floor - I had to go away out."

Christopher Ashley, the principal at the White River School in Vermont where Ms Layman-Mendonca taught, said: "From our perspective she was a terrific person."

Great Glen Ways sign
Ms Layman-Mendonca was walking the Great Glen Ways

He said she had come from a "tough background, but worked really hard for herself and her daughter and put herself through college".

Mr Ashley said Ms Layman-Mendonca had become an avid hiker and had climbed most of the peaks in New Hampshire's White Mountains.

She was a member of the Green Mountain Club Montpelier Section.

The group recently held a memorial walk at Hartford High School football field in Vermont.

Stations were set up along the walk - dubbed Marty's Trail - to educate walkers on aspects of safe hiking.

Church-goers in Inverness joined members at the Valley Bible Church in White River Junction to raise funds to move the comatose woman nearer to home.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Watch further details of the case



SEE ALSO
Tourist attacker's case deferred
31 Oct 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Man admits attack on US tourist
08 Sep 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Man accused of attack on tourist
14 Jul 06 |  Highlands and Islands

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