Teenagers admit assault on delivery driver who died

TWO teenagers today admitted their involvement in a sickening incident which led to the death of a takeaway delivery driver.

• Simon San

Simon San, 40, was forced to get out of his Smart car after returning from a delivery by a group of youths who started rocking it back and forwards. Mr San was backed up towards a wall and was killed by a single punch delivered by John Reid. The 16-year-old previously admitted culpable homicide and was sentenced to five years detention.

Mr San died the day after the incident on August 11 from a fractured skull and internal bleeding.

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At Edinburgh Sheriff Court today Michael Roberts, 16, and Keir Rodger, 16, pled guilty to carrying out an assault on Mr San by rocking his car and forcing him to leave the vehicle. Roberts also admitted stealing a set of car keys and a mobile phone from Mr San as well as failing to appear at court.

A 14-year-old, who cannot be identified, who also faced the assault charge, had his not guilty plea accepted by the Crown but admitted breaching bail conditions. The incident happened close to the San family takeaway Yong Hua Gardens at Lochend Road in Edinburgh.

Roberts tried to start Mr San's car as he lay on the ground and later while at Rodger's home was heard to say "does anyone want a car?".

Fiscal depute Melanie Ward said: "During the evening plain clothes officers had attended in that area in relation to various groups of youths hanging around the Loch Inn. Roberts and Rodger were part of the group hanging around. Mr San completed a delivery and returned to the restaurant at about 10pm."

Ms Ward said Mr San's car had been surrounded by Roberts, Rodger and also Reid.

She said: "All three started rocking the vehicle while Mr San was still in it. Witnesses said that they were laughing as they did so. Due to the rocking backwards and forwards Mr San was forced to leave the car.

"He got out with his mobile phone, an Apple I-Phone, and he indicated to the group that he was telephoning the police. He locked his car and then he did phone the police as the males were around him and the telephone call records the deceased saying 'I'm in Lochend Road, youngsters, a group of them, making trouble'.

The police operator could hear the sound of a disturbance with the sound of youngsters screaming in the background. Someone was heard to say 'I got it' and the line went quiet."

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The court heard that Mr San was then punched and the force caused him to drop his phone and keys which were taken by Roberts. Roberts made an unsuccessful attempt at starting the car before running off with the other teenagers. Later at Rodger's home address his mother heard the boys talking about the incident and reported the matter to police.

Ms Ward added that the San family were strongly of the opinion that the attack was racially motivated but police investigation has not found any evidence to support that.

Sheriff John Horsburgh QC said the incident must have been "terrifying" for Mr San and deferred sentence for reports and advice from the children's panel until later this month when pleas in mitigation will also be heard. Roberts and Rodger were remanded in custody and the 14-year-old was released on bail.