A WOMAN who faked a knife attack at an Ayrshire hospital has been jailed for wasting police time.

An ambulance was called to Ayr Sheriff Court to treat Irvine woman Donna Maxwell after she fainted in the dock on being told of her sentence.

Maxwell lied to police by claiming she’d been stabbed in the grounds of the Ailsa Hospital in Ayr in November 2018 – when in fact she’d carried out the attack herself.

Prosecutors told the court the police operation cost an estimated £103,000.

A jury found Maxwell, who turned 48 earlier this week, guilty by a majority verdict following a trial in January that stretched into five days.

Irvine Times: Emergency services rushed to Ailsa Hospital in November 2018 after receiving a report that Donna Maxwell had been stabbedEmergency services rushed to Ailsa Hospital in November 2018 after receiving a report that Donna Maxwell had been stabbed (Image: Newsquest)

Maxwell, of Livingstone Terrace, had denied making statements to the police which she knew to be false, thereby “temporarily depriving the public of [the police’s] services and rendering the lieges liable to suspicion and accusation of assault to injury”.

Another woman – who, the trial heard, has since died – was identified as a suspect and appeared in court in connection with the incident, and spent eight days in custody before the charges were later dropped.

Giving evidence during the trial, Maxwell insisted that the accusation she had stabbed herself “can’t be further from the truth”.

READ MORE: How Donna Maxwell was found guilty after faking hospital stab attack

The jury reached its verdict after a little more than an hour and a half of deliberation.

When Maxwell returned to court for sentencing on Thursday, February 8, defence solicitor Ian Gillies told Sheriff Shirley Foran: "She is a 48-year-old married lady and appears, apart from one minor road traffic offence, to have never been in trouble before.

"This matter has gone on for some considerable time now, and her position remains as she gave evidence.

"She fully accepts the outcome of the court when the jury found her guilty.

"This is an extremely difficult case which attracted a lot of attention from other parties - however I would urge your Ladyship to take account that this is her first offence."

Sheriff Foran told Maxwell: "You have been found guilty of a serious instance of wasting police time by making a false report of a knife assault on yourself.

"You motives may never be known, but motive is not required for proof of guilt.

Irvine Times: Police outside Ailsa Hospital in Ayr in November 2018Police outside Ailsa Hospital in Ayr in November 2018 (Image: Newsquest)

"Your actions had multiple repercussions. Your colleagues felt horrified and alarmed, the local community feared a knife attacker was at large, Ayr Hospital was secured for a period of time, and further alarm was caused to one close colleague that she may have been the intended target, and she was left frightened, upset and anxious.

"The divergence of police resources to your report meant the public were deprived of their efforts.

"Most heinously, your report led to a number of innocent women falling under suspicion and being subjected to investigation.

"For one individual, now deceased, this led to the trauma of an arrest, a court appearance on petition and remand for eight days.

"The fact you did not name or identify her is neither here not there. The thrust of the libel is that your actions caused members of the public to fall under suspicion.

"What happened was a logical and foreseeable consequence of pointing the finger at a female [addiction] service user.

"I find little mitigation. You adhere to the position of innocence, and have shown no remorse or have you taken any responsibility.

"In all these circumstances there is no alternative to imprisonment.

"I sentence you to a period of one year's imprisonment from today."