Student knocked victim out after accidental clash

Emmanuele Sorentino. Picture: comp

Emmanuele Sorentino. Picture: comp

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A STUDENT knocked a man unconscious outside a city centre fast food restaurant after he accidentally bumped into him.

Emmanuele Sorentino flew into a rage outside McDonald’s in St Andrew Street during a night out on November 30 last year.

He punched Christopher Stirling to the ground, leaving him lying “motionless” with blood pouring from his nose and head.

Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that Sorentino, who has returned to his native Italy after completing a university course in the Capital, handed himself in when he noticed a police appeal featuring CCTV pictures of himself had been published in online news reports.

The 23-year-old was caught on camera leaving McDonald’s with his friend and sitting on the kerb eating some food 
before the incident unfolded.

Fiscal depute Kirsty Anderson told court that he and his friend bumped into Mr Stirling, 26, as they got up to walk away.

She said: “The victim then turned to face Sorentino, and he punched him once to the head which knocked him to the ground. He was lying motionless.

“Sorentino and his friend walked off while the victim’s friend put him into the recovery position. He was bleeding from his nose and his head and an ambulance was called.”

Mr Stirling was taken to 
Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where he needed 12 stitches in total. He suffered cuts to his lips and will have a permanent scar above his mouth.

Sorentino pleaded guilty to assaulting Mr Stirling by punching him to the ground and rendering him unconscious to his injury and permanent disfigurement when he appeared before Sheriff Thomas Welsh yesterday.

Sorentino’s defence agent, Jennifer Cameron, said her client, who had been drinking in George Street, had been upset after falling victim to racial abuse earlier in the evening.

“There was a public appeal for information – on seeing his photograph, he contacted the police. He returned from Italy and handed himself in to the police. He had a significant amount to drink. He had been racially abused near the McDonald’s restaurant,” she said.

“On seeing the CCTV footage he was very tearful – there has clearly been remorse in this case. He now has a blemish on his record going forward, and fears this could have an impact. He is due to start work as an accountant on a cruise ship in Italy in November.”

She told the court that her client had no previous convictions and was shaken by the experience.

Sheriff Welsh said: “This was out of character for you.”

He ordered Sorentino to pay a £500 fine and to pay Mr Stirling £800 in compensation.

kaye.nicolson@edinburghnews.com