Edinburgh gun death:Willowbrae residents speak out

Picture: Neil Hanna
Picture: Neil Hanna
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WITNESSES at the scene of the Willowbrae shooting have described hearing a man moaning in pain after two gunshots were fired – before two more blasts silenced him.

Residents spoke of hearing up to six shots being fired during the bloody attack, which resulted in the death of 25-year-old Mohammed Abdi.

A Volkswagen Sharan people carrier, which had crashed into railings on Abercorn Crescent, was attacked by men with baseball bats and clubs.

Another witness described police officers and paramedics frantically treating Abdi as he lay on the street before he was rushed away by ambulance to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.

It was revealed that officers visited homes close to the shooting in its aftermath to ask people to check for bulletholes in their windows and spent

cartridges in their gardens.

Abdi was found lying fatally wounded next to the smashed-up people carrier on Abercorn Crescent at around 1am on Sunday after a chase which may have involved three cars.

It’s now thought that three or four men were in the car that was attacked.

Two are thought to have escaped by hiding in bushes at Abercorn Sports Club. The tennis courts remained taped off today as forensic teams combed the area.

Police officers who raced to the scene found another man who was bleeding in a garden in nearby Paisley Crescent. It’s understood he was stabbed.

A resident, who asked not to be named, watched the carnage unfold from his top-floor flat. He said: “My wife and I had just gone to bed when we were woken by a lot of commotion. We were aware of a crash then other noises.

“Then I heard two or three bangs, which I think were gunshots.

“I got to our window, which looks right down Abercorn Crescent. A Volkswagen Sharan had crashed through the railings, knocking them down, before hitting a tree. The headlights and hazard lights were still on. The airbags had deployed but I’m not sure if anyone was inside at that point.

“Three or four men with what looked like baseball bats and clubs were smashing the car’s side windows.

“At the other side of Abercorn Crescent, a few metres away from the crashed car, two taxis had stopped at the corner.

“The taxis moved away and I could see a guy lying underneath the 20mph sign, half on the road and half on the pavement, who was completely still.”

The resident said that a number of black men continued to “mill around” the scene while another car sat in the middle of the road.

He added: “Then it was as if it dawned on them that people would have woken up and seen what was going on and they started to move off.

“The car in the middle of the road turned round and headed off towards Jock’s Lodge.

“The first guy started to walk away and then he approached the man lying on the ground and tried to move him. He pulled him up by the arm but he was a dead weight so the guy walked off towards Jock’s Lodge.

“The other guy looked at the man on the ground but didn’t go to him. He walked off in the same direction.”

The resident, who had called 999, added: “The police arrived two or three minutes after the men had walked off.

“The first officer went straight across to the injured man and started giving him CPR.

“Soon, the street was swarming with police, including an armed response team who arrived in a Land Rover.”

Another resident was lying on her sofa when she was startled by sounds outside her home. Her husband said: “There were four or five men shouting but she couldn’t make out what they were saying.

“Then she heard two gunshots followed by the sound of a man moaning in pain as if he had been hit. Then there were two more gunshots and he was silent. It was as if they had finished him off.

“My wife looked out the window and saw a couple, a man in his 70s and a woman a bit younger, who were standing right across from what was happening. They were just

frozen in shock.

“When I got home at 3.30am there was a helicopter hovering overhead and about 30 to 40 police officers shutting off streets and searching gardens.”

Yesterday, dozens of blood droplets still marked the pavement every few feet up Abercorn Crescent and up to Paisley Gardens where another man was found by police bleeding heavily.

A resident in Willowbrae Road said: “We never heard a thing until about 1.30am when some police sirens woke us up.

“The first officer we spoke to at the door said ‘don’t worry, we’ll keep you safe, go back to bed’. Then, another officer came and asked us to check our windows for bulletholes.

“They also asked us to check for cartridges in the garden. Officers searched our garden and the forensic people later spent hours lifting some samples from outside our front wall.”

A team of forensic officers was carrying out further

examinations of the scene yesterday, including checks of gardens on Willowbrae Road.

Another witness, who was returning home from a night out at the time of the incident, said: “We came home about 12.55am and when we came in we heard what we first thought was a car backfiring, which it wasn’t, it turned out to be a gun. We heard six shots

altogether.

“My mate had parked his car over in Abercorn Crescent so we went out to see if it was OK. When we went over the road we saw a body lying on the ground.”

The witness said he saw black men with English accents gather round the scene.

He said: “Before the police arrived, a white Corsa with a lot of people in it shot off, heading down Willowbrae Road towards Jock’s Lodge.

“When the guy was lying on the ground, I noticed a baseball bat and a golf club, which was broken and mangled behind a car.”