'I did what anyone would have' - Little girl who was stabbed 8 times at Fountain Park 20 years ago reunites with her 'saviour' that day after Edinburgh Evening News appeal

A woman has been reunited with the hero who helped save her life as a little girl when she was stabbed eight times by another child at an underground car park in Edinburgh.

Kitrina McKenzie was just nine when she was abducted from the street outside her grandmother’s home in Longstone, forced onto a bus and taken to a spot at Fountain Park leisure complex to endure the vicious attack by 11-year-old Darren Cornelius.

But last week, 20 years on from her terrifying ordeal, Kitrina made a touching appeal through the Edinburgh Evening News to find the woman who came to her aid that day.

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Sarah Hardie, who happened to read Kitrina’s appeal, was her saviour that day.

Kitrina McKenzie (left) and Sarah Hardie, who helped her 20 years ago as a little girl. Pictures: Michael Gillen/ Supplied by Sarah Hardie
Kitrina McKenzie (left) and Sarah Hardie, who helped her 20 years ago as a little girl. Pictures: Michael Gillen/ Supplied by Sarah Hardie

The 46-year-old, from Currie, had been standing at a nearby bus stop and dialled 999 when Kitrina staggered towards her. Moments before, the youngster had crawled up some metal stairs to reach the street after being left for dead by a car park emergency exit.

After two decades, the pair were able to meet up on Wednesday for a chat over a coffee at the Gyle.

Sarah told the Evening News: “I’m glad we did and I believed Kitrina when she said she had managed to get closure by meeting.

“I was extremely surprised to read Kitrina’s plea after all these years last week, all I did was what anybody would or should have done at the time.”

Kitrina said she was relieved to have finally found Sarah and hopes to move forward with her life.

Now 29, Kitrina said last week that she remembered Sarah calling for an ambulance before she passed out at the scene following the frenzied attack, which happened around 2pm on October 23, 2000.

Medics at the Sick Kids Hospital said she was “very lucky” to be alive and that the blade narrowly missed her liver.

The meeting comes after Kitrina’s story also prompted a security guard working at Fountain Park at the time to come forward and tell of how he helped police quickly catch her attacker.

Brian Gould, who was the only security officer working at the time in the control room, said officers believed a grown woman had been stabbed and were looking for a man on the run, but he steered them towards footage of a boy he had noticed running away from the stairwell just minutes before.

After slowing down the camera frames, the boy was seen dropping a knife and cops tracked him down within half an hour on Lothian Road.

A children’s panel hearing ordered Cornelius, who was originally charged with attempted murder, to be locked up for 17 months in secure accommodation. He escaped prosecution as lawyers argued his mental age was below the age of eight, then the age of criminal responsibility.

Since his release he has been convicted of a string of further offences and, in 2008, a High Court judge imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction on him, meaning he would be monitored for life - and possibly never released from prison - until deemed no longer to be a danger to the public, after knifing Daniel Sweeney the year before in Edinburgh.

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