Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Mother attacked pushing pram at Edinburgh beauty spot

Edinburgh High Court
Image caption The High Court in Edinburgh heard of 36-year-old Liqian Watson's ordeal

A mother was subjected to a knife-point ordeal as she pushed a pram through an Edinburgh beauty spot.

Liqian Watson, 36, was taking her baby son for a walk in his pram at the Hermitage of Braids on 9 February when she was attacked.

Fairground worker John Simmons, 58, admitted assault and abduction.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that Simmons clapped his left hand over her mouth while holding a large kitchen knife.

Ms Watson fell to the ground when Simmons pulled her towards him.

Prosecuting advocate depute Gillian More told the court that Ms Watson offered Simmons her mobile phone and money, telling him that was all she had.

Simmons replied: "I don't want your money" and asked her to follow him.

Ms Watson then saw two cyclists and yelled: "Help me, help me. He has got a knife," in spite of Simmon's warnings to keep quiet.

When the cyclists stopped, Ms Watson ran over to them and Simmons walked away.

Knife found

Police were called to the scene and given a description of Simmons.

He was seen in nearby Hermitage drive about two hours later.

When questioned Simmons said he lived in a caravan in the Leeds area and worked with a travelling fairground but was in Edinburgh to visit his brother.

Simmons said he had taken a tour of the Royal Yacht Britannia and then took a bus to the Hermitage of Braid for "a peaceful walk."

He denied attacking anyone but could not explain a cut to his finger.

The prosecution said the cut was consistent with someone accidentally nicking their finger while holding a victim by the throat.

A police search of the area uncovered a knife in bushes.

Swabs taken from the knife found in the bushes showed traces of DNA from Ms Watson and Mr Simmons.

The judge called for background reports and ordered Simmons to remain in custody pending sentence.

He is due back in court next month.