Leith Walk knife attacker had been freed on bail

Jo's Bar on the corner of Jane Street and Leith Walk. Picture: Neil Hanna
Jo's Bar on the corner of Jane Street and Leith Walk. Picture: Neil Hanna
Share this article
Have your say

A Violent criminal attempted to murder a darts player in a pub in an unprovoked knife attack after a court freed him on bail.

Gary Welch, who has previous convictions for serious assault and robbery, was granted bail by a sheriff in Edinburgh a month before he carried out the murder bid.

Welch, 25, launched a knife attack on care assistant Brian McCabe at Jo’s Bar in the city’s Leith Walk on August 6 last year.

Mr McCabe, 42, told Welch’s trial at the High Court in Edinburgh that he thought he was “a goner” in the wake of the assault.

He had gone to the pub for a darts match and at one stage in the evening went to the bar for a pint.

He said: “The next thing I knew I have been stabbed right down in the neck.”

Mr McCabe also sustained an eye injury in the attack..

He said: “At that moment in time I didn’t feel anything. I didn’t feel any pain.”

“It wasn’t until I turned round to the door and saw the offender standing there with the knife....then the blood just poured.”

“I thought I was dead. I thought I was a goner,” he told the court.

Mr McCabe said the knife assault came “right out of the blue”.

He identified Welch as the person he saw with the knife.

Advocate depute David Nicolson asked him if he had said or done anything to the person who inflicted the injuries on him and he replied: “Nothing. I want to know ‘Why me?’.”

Mr McCabe said that after the assault he was taken to hospital and added: “It was blue lights all the way.”

He was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary before being transferred to St Johns Hospital at Livingston.

He said he sustained injuries to the side of his jaw and an eye.

An accident and emergency doctor said the injuries suffered by Mr McCabe were “quite significant”.

An eye specialist told the court that he required surgery to repair injury to the lids of an eye and had some damage to the way the eye moved.

Welch, described as a prisoner, had denied carrying out the attack on Mr McCabe.

But a jury found him guilty by a majority verdict of attempting to murder the victim by assaulting him to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life by repeatedly striking him on the head and neck with a knife.

Mr Nicolson told the court: “At the time of the offence he was on bail in relation to a crime of violence.” McCabe was granted bail at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on July 4.

He also revealed following the verdict that Welch had previously been sentenced to detention for serious assaults and robbery.

The judge, Lord Jones, ordered a background report be prepared ahead of sentencing Welch at the High Court in Aberdeen next month.