Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Man convicted of murder bid on tourists in Edinburgh

Gillian Clarke and Bernadette Lester Image copyright CIARAN DONNELLY
Image caption Bernadette Lester (left) and Gillian Clarke (right) were attacked outside on an Edinburgh hotel

A man has been convicted of attempting to murder two tourists who were in Edinburgh on a city break.

Peter Cameron, 38, attacked Gillian Clarke and Bernadette Lester with a knife at random outside the Apex Hotel in Edinburgh's Grassmarket.

The women, from Belfast, were outside the hotel smoking at about 03:35 on 8 November when he attacked them.

Cameron also attacked a 37-year-old man, who worked at the hotel, who had tried to help the women.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Cameron struck Ms Lester, 61, with a knife 10 times in the space of four seconds, hitting her on the chest, head, arm, shoulder and hands.

Image copyright Police Scotland
Image caption Peter Cameron attacked at random

Her friend Gillian Clarke, 58, was stabbed twice in the face, suffering injuries to her tongue and mouth.

The hotel employee, Neil Robertson, intervened, suffering a hand injury before Cameron ran from the scene. Mr Robertson later received a bravery award from Police Scotland.

Cameron, who was unemployed, has a history of violence.

Judge Lady Scott deferred sentence on him until next month for the preparation of a background report and risk assessment.

She added that she was concerned about the potential risk he posed to the public and he was detained in custody.

Ms Clarke, a nurse, previously told the court how she and Ms Lester went outside for a cigarette in the early hours of the morning.

They were having a conversation when a man appeared.

'It was frenzied'

She told the High Court in Edinburgh that he walked away but she heard her friend say: "Jesus, Gillian, he is coming back."

Ms Clarke said: "The attack just happened so fast. It was frenzied." She thought she had received two quick punches but then realised she was bleeding.

Image caption The attack took place outside the Apex Hotel last November

She said: "I lay down because I am a nurse and I knew I was bleeding very heavily.

"I took the black scarf that was round my neck and put it to my cheek and put pressure on it. My tongue was also bleeding and I was choking on the blood."

She said: "I remember shouting 'Bernie, I'm bleeding, I'm bleeding' but Bernie shouted 'so am I'."

Ms Lester said: "I was stabbed once behind my right arm, twice on my right shoulder, once on my chest, once behind my right ear and had... defensive wounds on my left hand."

Ms Clarke said that during the incident Mr Robertson came out the side door and tried to stop the man attacking her and her friend, but he got hurt.

Mr Robertson told the court he looked out from the hotel and saw one of the women pinned up against a barrier. He said: "I started shoving the door to get out and also hitting the person with the door to try and get them away."

'Very angry'

He said the man appeared "very angry" and he stepped out to try to calm the situation but was attacked.

"I tried to convince him to step away from the ladies altogether. I thought he was just punching until he lunged at me and hit me. That's when I realised it was a knife," he said.

Mr Robertson said he was struck on the left hand and suffered a stab wound to muscle tissue and later received stitches.

During the trial, Cameron admitted attempting to murder Ms Lester by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with the knife to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of her life.

He also admitted assaulting Mr Robertson, who went to the aid of the women, by striking him with the knife to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement.

Cameron further admitted assaulting Mrs Clarke to her severe injury and permanent disfigurement by striking her on the head with the weapon, but denied attempting to murder her.

However, a jury unanimously convicted him of the murder bid.

Cameron, of Shandwick Place, Edinburgh, was acquitted of further charges of illegal possession of the knife and attempting to pervert the course of justice by disposing of the weapon and items of clothing after the attacks because the Crown withdrew the charges.

The knife was found dumped in a bin in Johnston Terrace with blood traces from the victims.

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