Stab victim has benefit cut over attack site row

Scars from Craig Robertson's knife attack injuries. Picture: contributed
Scars from Craig Robertson's knife attack injuries. Picture: contributed
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A STABBING victim had his benefits cut to just £17 a week after he refused to attend a computing course at a training centre next to where he was attacked.

Craig Robertson died twice on the operating table as surgeons fought to save his life after he was knifed in Magdalene Gardens last September.

Craig Robertson almost died following the attack in Magdalene. Picture: contributed

Craig Robertson almost died following the attack in Magdalene. Picture: contributed

The 40-year-old volunteered to go on a course at Forth Sector in Duddingston Yards but was sanctioned by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) after failing to attend following the stabbing.

The centre is located just a few hundred yards from Magdalene Gardens and Mr Robertson feared he would be attacked again if he returned to the area. After being contacted by the Evening News, DWP officials have reversed their decision and put him back on full benefits.

Now living in an undisclosed location, Mr Robertson is set to give evidence in court against two men charged with attempted murder.

He said: “I felt victimised when I’m trying to do the right thing by giving evidence against these men. I want to try and rebuild my life. I’m pleased that they have reversed their decision but the last few weeks have been an ordeal to go through.

“There are other places in Edinburgh that do the same course. I’m happy to go anywhere but back to Magdalene.”

Mr Robertson was attacked on September 28 and rushed to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary. He added: “When I woke up they told me I had died twice on the operating table. I had to be re-admitted for seven days in October after I developed an infection and I still go to hospital regularly and for weekly liver function tests.”

Mr Robertson, who previously worked as a fish packer, barman, warehouse assistant and window cleaner, was sanctioned last month for failing to attend the course. He had been receiving £173 a fortnight.

He said: “I tried to go to the centre. I got on the bus but I was having panic attacks. I was shaking and sweating. I was terrified so I had to turn back. I want to go on a computer course and I want to get a job. But I believe my life is in danger if I go back.

“I need £15 a week to put in the gas meter. I was struggling to feed myself. I was only left with £7 a week to buy gluten-free food, because I have coeliac disease, and that’s more expensive than normal food.”

A DWP spokeswoman said: “Jobcentre Plus has reviewed Mr Robertson’s claim and a decision has been taken to reinstate his benefits. Mr Robertson will be paid the arrears of benefit due.”

A Crown Office spokesman confirmed that two men, both aged 22, had been charged with attempted murder.