The Scottish Mail on Sunday
Axe attacker demands sex change... paid for by NHS
Patient at secure hospital is now calling himself ‘Rosemary’
A MALE patient in Scotland’s topsecurity psychiatric hospital is seeking a sex-change on the NHS.
Peter Kirkwood changed his name officially to ‘Rosemary’ last month and is now being allowed to wear women’s clothes.
The 55-year-old, originally from Edinburgh, has been in the State Hospital at Carstairs, Lanarkshire, for 28 years since trying to kill his father with an axe.
Last night, a source said: ‘Staff at the hospital became aware of his request to be known as Rosemary a few weeks ago but it only became a policy matter when he changed his name on official documents two weeks ago.
‘Hospital management took the view that all staff and other patients should call him Rosemary as that was the name he wanted to be known by. He is now talking openly about wanting to have a sex change.’ Kirkwood’s request to dress as a woman in public areas of the maleonly facility has been refused but he can wear make-up and female attire in the privacy of his own room.
Kirkwood was ordered to be detained without limit of time in 1984 after attacking his father, John, with an axe in the family’s upmarket home in Portobello.
After a trial at the High Court in Edinburgh, a jury found the 27-yearold not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. Police told the court that Kirkwood had told them: ‘I intended to kill my father. If I had killed him, then I would have killed my mother.’
Mr Kirkwood, who received minor head injuries during the assault, managed to grapple with his son and called for his wife to get help.
Psychiatrists told the court that although Kirkwood was sane and fit to plead, he suffered from a schizophrenic condition. At the time of the attack he was seriously affected by mental illness.
Two key conditions of sex-change surgery are that the person should live as a woman for a period of time, and show that in all other ways they are in their right mind and understand the implications.
It is not known if Kirkwood sees the move towards surgery as a ticket out of Carstairs. Women patients are now sent to the highsecurity Rampton Hospital, near Retford, Nottinghamshire.
The source added: ‘Any patient who did manage to persuade the authorities that they must have the procedure would be in for a shock if they thought it was a way out of the hospital system. They would simply be transferred to Rampton.’
But she added: ‘It’s the talk of the hospital. Everyone is waiting to see how it goes with him being called Rosemary and dressing up in private.’
Last night, at her home in Edinburgh, Kirkwood’s elderly mother refused to comment.
Robert Oxley of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘Taxpayers will be astonished that their money could end up being spent in this manner.
‘The NHS has drastic spending decisions to make and this will be low down in the priority of the majority of the public.’
The State Hospital at Carstairs cares for men from Scotland and Northern Ireland who cannot be accommodated in other settings because of their dangerous or violent behaviour.