Pair guilty of brutal assault

A MAN who had been savagely beaten and kicked opened his eyes – just as medics had decided to turn off his life support system.

A court heard yesterday how Craig Wallace, 30, had been dumped in the street after the attack in an Edinburgh flat.

Ambulance personnel found him lying in the gutter beside a rubbish bin – with a footprint in the skin over his left eye.

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Mr Wallace was in intensive care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for three days without showing any improvement.

Advocate depute Leanne Cross, prosecuting, told the High Court in Edinburgh: "It was felt that he was going to succumb to his injuries and the decision was made to turn off his ventilator and withdraw active treatment.

"But an improvement in his level of consciousness, in that he began to breathe unassisted, opened his eyes spontaneously and moved all four limbs, was then observed."

Judge Lord Pentland was told it was unlikely that Mr Wallace would ever make a full recovery from the brain damage he suffered.

Ms Cross said he still needed help, lived with his mum and still needed to use a wheelchair some of the time.

Two men – Steven Robertson, 31, and Scott Lawson, 21, now face sentence for trying to murder Mr Wallace. A third man – James Elder, 22, has admitted a reduced charge of assault.

The court heard how they and Mr Wallace had gone to Lawson's flat at Restalrig Road South to take heroin and abuse lighter fuel.

A row broke out and Mr Wallace approached Lawson with a baseball bat, which had been lying in the flat.

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Elder took the bat away but during the struggle Robertson's girlfriend, Hayley Cherry, was knocked to the ground.

Robertson punched Mr Wallace, knocking him across the room then Elder kicked him repeatedly, said Ms Cross.

Robertson and Lawson joined in – but took things much further, repeatedly kicking and punching Mr Wallace and stamping on his head.

"Mr Wallace was in a very bad state once the attack drew to an end," said Ms Cross. "He was left propped up against the living room wall."

After some time it was decided to dump Mr Wallace outside.

"All three accused and Hayley Cherry then carried him down the stairs and left him in the gutter next to the bins."

Ms Cherry made a 999 call on her way home, claiming she had just passed someone lying in the gutter. Another passer-by also called an ambulance.

Robertson of Muirpark, Dalkeith, Midlothian, and Lawson were remanded in custody. Elder, of no fixed address, was allowed bail. Lord Pentland called for background reports before passing sentence.