GLASGOW, Scotland (AP) – A man with a criminal record has pleaded guilty to attacking an American tourist with an iron bar in the Scottish Highlands, leaving her in a coma, newspapers reported Saturday.

Colin Ross, 34, of Inverness, Scotland, carried out the attack on Marty Layman-Mendonca, 57, a teacher from White River Junction, Vermont, in July – less than a month after he had been released early from a three-year prison sentence for attacking a female German tourist in Scotland.

Ross pleaded guilty to attempted murder in the Layman-Mendonca case on Friday during a pretrial hearing at the High Court in Glasgow, according to The Scotsman and the Scottish Sun newspapers.

He told the court he had repeatedly hit her head and body with a metal pipe and a boulder. He said he stole her possessions, dumped her in the woods and tied her wrists together with shoelaces, The Scotsman said.

It was not possible on Saturday to contact the court system or his attorney to confirm the reports.

No date has been set for Ross’ sentencing, but he was to appear at another court hearing on Oct. 3.

Layman-Mendonca was hiking in the Highlands when the attack occurred on July 5 during her vacation. She was admitted to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, and friends and family have quoted doctors as saying she is not likely to ever recover from the coma.

Before the attack, Scottish police were so concerned about the risks that Ross posed to women that on June 29 – six days before the Layman-Mendonca attack – they were granted a sexual offenses prevention order banning him from approaching women or wearing a balaclava, The Scotsman said.

The order also banned him from leaving his home or the immediate area for more than 24 hours without police permission and from getting a job or voluntary work without written approval.

Police said they were powerless against lenient sentencing and that Ross should be kept in prison indefinitely to prevent him from attacking other women.

In July 2003, Ross was convicted of breaching the peace for being found near a woman’s home in the city carrying a balaclava and written instructions about entering the house. The instructions contained the words “and now the fun begins,” The Scotsman said.

In May 2004, while wearing a balaclava and gloves, Ross attacked a German tourist, Ina Bruns, 36, in a forest near Cawdor Castle, outside Inverness. When arrested, he was wearing her glasses, the paper said. He was sentenced to three years in prison, but was freed early on June 9 under a supervised release order.

The Scotsman said Ross had prepared the site where he ambushed Layman-Mendonca, hiding clean clothes, a sponge and a milk bottle full of Dettol disinfectant in the undergrowth alongside a remote path. When the teacher showed up, Ross followed her for 10 yards (meters), engaged her in conversation and then went into a frenzy, the paper said.

He repeatedly hit her on the head with a metal pipe and a boulder before stealing her rucksack and rifling through the pockets of her shorts for cash, The Scotsman said.

Ross then tied Layman-Mendonca’s wrists with shoelaces, leaving her unconscious and bleeding heavily, the paper said. He buried the boulder and threw the pipe into a pond. Ross wore the victim’s rain jacket to cover his bloodstained clothes.

He used money he stole from Layman-Mendonca to buy cigarettes and six cans of beer, The Scotsman said. When he got home, he changed and put his clothes in a garbage bag that he hid behind bushes on a secluded canal path, the paper said.

When Ross later returned to his house in Inverness, police said they saw him approach and arrested him.

Defense attorney Derek Ogg said Ross knew he had violent tendencies and before his release from prison had asked for anger-management counseling, The Scotsman reported.


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