'They spat alcohol all over my mask' - Key worker left shaken after alleged attack on Lothian bus

‘I feel so humiliated that as a grown man I had to beg these people to stop what they were doing, while being filmed.’

An essential worker has spoken of the humiliation he experienced after a group of yobs reportedly filmed themselves spitting on him during his bus journey home.

Connor Courtney, from Edinburgh, took a number 34 from the city centre to Riccarton after a long day’s work at the Straiton Asda on Monday evening.

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Dressed in his uniform and wearing a face shield, the 23-year-old sat at the front of the bus minding his own business until he was approached by two men and two women.

Connor Courtney, from Edinburgh, took a number 34 from the city centre to Riccarton after a long day’s work at the Straiton Asda before the incident took place.
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Within minutes of sitting down, it is understood the unruly passengers starting yanking at his mask, slapping his face and repeatedly spat alcohol all over his visor.

"I have never felt so humiliated in my life,” said Connor, who has just graduated with a degree in psychology from Heriott Watt.

"I am still emotionally raw and trying to process what exactly happened.”

Connor Courtney, 23, who was allegedly attacked on a Lothian bus on Monday evening

At first, the “obnoxious” group, who were in their late 30s or early 40s, allegedly tried to get the graduate’s attention by blowing down his neck and attempting to catch his eye while he was sat down.

When he refused to engage, Connor, who is about to start a masters in psychology at Edinburgh University, said the two men started poking him and slapping his face before spitting alcohol on him.

"At first I thought there was a draft but it turned out it was these people blowing on me,” Connor said.

"The two women started filming as the men were slapping my face and spitting on me, they were egging each other on.

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"I just kept repeating ‘please stop, please don’t do this’, but they didn’t.

"I feel so humiliated that as a grown man I had to beg these people to stop what they were doing, while being filmed.

"I am still in denial about the whole experience because it was so bizarre and something you just wouldn’t expect people of this age to be doing.”

The recent graduate, who regularly visits his grandparents now that lockdown restrictions have eased, said he is concerned about having potentially contracted Covid-19 following the incident.

He said he is planning on booking himself in for a test to make sure he is in the clear given he works in retail.

"I'm very concerned about the virus, more so now,” Connor said.

"The only family I have are my grandparents and they are in their 70s.

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"The thought of them being in danger as a result of this scares me, so I'm planning on getting tested, just to be safe, or I'm considering self-isolating.”

Connor has since reported the incident to Lothian Buses and the police.

"It was a bit unsettling that the other passengers didn’t do anything,” the student added.

"I locked eyes with a man who was sat near me when this was all happening, and he just looked away.

"I don’t know if the bus driver saw them being disruptive, but they were being so loud, so I’d be surprised if he didn’t.”

Connor said fortunately the bullies got off the bus just after Dundee Street and he was able to continue his journey home in peace.

"I was a bit worried they were going to stay on and see where I got off and follow me because they were being so persistent and just wouldn’t give it a rest,” he added.

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"They kept trying to snatch my face shield out my hand before getting off the bus.”

A police spokesman said: “Officers received a report of disorderly conduct, which allegedly took place on a bus between Princes Street and Riccarton between 10.30pm and 11pm on Monday, 13 July. Enquiries were carried out and suitable advice was given.”

Lothian Buses has been contacted for comment.

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