A health worker accused of stabbing herself in an alleged faked blade attack was seen buying a knife with the same serial number as the weapon used in the incident, a court has heard.

Irvine woman Donna Maxwell denies a charge of wasting police time after an incident at Ailsa Hospital in Ayr more than five years ago.

The triage worker was charged with staging a knife attack that sparked a major police investigation on November 22, 2018.

The 47-year-old was rushed to hospital and underwent surgery for the wound to her abdomen – which penetrated more than 3cm into her body.

A trial at Ayr Sheriff Court was told that Ms Maxwell alleged that she had been stabbed by a female with the appearance of a ‘drug user’.

But Ms Maxwell was arrested three weeks later on suspicion of faking the attack.

The first day of the trial heard from three staff members and a trainee who said they were present within the hospital’s Upper Killochan building – a property which, the jury was told, was not usually attended by members of the public, with staff using key fobs to gain entry.

The trial was told staff were alerted to a buzzer at around 10am and to Ms Maxwell shouting for help.

Medical secretary Vivianne Williams, 62, said: “The buzzer was pressed at 10am when I was going to make tea. I answered but I couldn’t hear so asked [the person] to stop pressing to hear.

“She shouted ‘help me, help me, it’s Donna'.

"I ran down the stairs and the door was open with Donna slumped against it. I thought she had taken ill or something."

All the prosecution witnesses who appeared on the first day of the trial told procurator fiscal depute Alasdair Millar that they had not seen anyone alleged to have caused the injuries.

Paramedic Robert Frew, 57, said that when he asked Ms Maxwell what had happened, he was told ‘a girl was ranting, then stabbed her’.

Mr Frew added: “Donna said she didn’t know her and couldn’t give a description.”

Ambulance technician Luke Galloway,. 29, said he could see the knife in the right side of Ms Maxwell’s abdomen, just below the ribcage.

Mr Galloway told the jury: "The patient appeared quite calm and not agitated by the injury in any other way. She said she was approached by a service user.”

Giving evidence, Detective Constable Stewart McCulloch said Ms Maxwell had told him she’d been approached by a slim female, five foot two or five foot three in height, “with a drug user appearance” and wearing a dark parka jacket and a woolly hat.

DC McCulloch, who told the jury he had 23 years of police service, said Ms Maxwell had been unable to identify the person she said had attacked her.

John Deans, a police inspector who was on duty on the day but has since retired, told the jury he recalled dispatching response crews, dog handlers, firearms officers, helicopter and support units from Glasgow to the incident.

A second detective constable said the blade was a ‘Go Cook’ knife sold exclusively by Tesco, and told the trial officers had gone to the supermarket chain’s store in Irvine and spoken to the manager.

The jury was told two knives of that description were sold from the Irvine store on that date – one to Ms Maxwell and the second to a male customer.

The jury was shown CCTV footage of Ms Maxwell, of Irvine's Livingstone Terrace, buying a Go Cook knife at the store.

Asked if any knives were found in the search of Ms Maxwell’s home, the officer replied: “Only cutlery types.”

Prosecutors allege that “on a number of occasions” between November 22 and 27, Ms Maxwell informed police that she “had been assaulted and struck on the body with a knife”.

The single charge against her alleges that she made statements to the police, at her Irvine home and at Ayr Hospital, which she knew to be false, and that she “did temporarily deprive the public of [the police's] services and render the lieges liable to suspicion and accusation of assault to injury”.

The trial, before Sheriff Shirley Foran, continues.

All accused persons reported are considered innocent unless they later plead guilty or are found guilty.

Read more exclusive coverage in this week's Ayr Advertiser and online at the Irvine Times.