Man jailed after knife attack on Edinburgh pensioner

The scene of the attack last December on Gylemuir Road in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna
The scene of the attack last December on Gylemuir Road in Edinburgh. Picture: Neil Hanna
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A KNIFE attacker who tried to murder an elderly stranger in a city street in a random assault was yesterday jailed for six years.

Ian Macdonald launched a vicious assault on the 86-year-old pensioner who was walking home from the supermarket after telling him: “I am very sorry about this.”

Macdonald, who had armed himself with a knife before setting off for a park, targeted Eric Martin in the unprovoked assault and said to a witness who went to the victim’s aid: “I shouldn’t have done that.”

A judge told him at the High Court in Edinburgh: “You undertook a random, unprovoked attack on an 86-year-old man in the street.”

Lady Wise said: “It was only through extreme good fortune and expert medical attention that he has survived the attack.”

The judge said it was “very troubling” given the absence of any understanding or explanation of why the crime occurred.

She told Macdonald that she took into account that he had shown considerable remorse, but she had to impose a substantial period of imprisonment.

She said he would have been jailed for nine years, but for his guilty plea.

The court heard that Macdonald appeared very calm after repeatedly stabbing Mr Martin who suffered a severed jugular vein in his neck.

Lady Wise was told that Macdonald did not suffer from any mental disorder and offered no explanation for the attack.

Macdonald, 56, earlier admitted attempting to murder Mr Martin on 1 December last year at Gylemuir Road, Corstorphine, in Edinburgh.

He repeatedly struck him on the body with a knife to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

Advocate depute Lisa Gillespie said that at the time of the assault Mr Martin, a retired engraver, was in good health and was fit and active.

He was used to walking twice a week to a supermarket in Corstorphine to buy groceries.

On the day of the murder bid he was walking home from the store when he became aware of Macdonald walking towards him.

The prosecutor said: “He did not know the accused. The accused said ‘I am very sorry about this’ or words to that effect, before stabbing the victim repeatedly to the neck and body.”

Mr Martin tried unsuccessfully to push him off, but fell to the ground where Macdonald continued to knife him.

A witness got out of his van and approached to find that Mr Martin was now lying motionless on the road. Macdonald stopped the attack and told him: “I’ve stabbed him.” He then added: “I’ll need to phone the police. I shouldn’t have done that.”

The witness told Macdonald he would call the police and told him to stay where he was, which he did. The man and another passerby tried to help the attack victim. Ms Gillespie said: “Both observed that the accused appeared very calm at this 
time.”

A woman resident looked out her window and saw Mr Martin lying on the ground and Macdonald walking up and down with his hands behind his back. He appeared “blank and emotionless”.

She asked Macdonald what had happened to the victim and he also told her that he had stabbed him.

Defence solicitor advocate Brian Gilfedder told the court: “It is a very unusual and perplexing crime committed with no motivation whatsoever, or reason for that matter.”