Demands for footpath lights after sex attack

Police comb the area after the sexual assault. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Police comb the area after the sexual assault. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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Residents have demanded urgent action to repair 
streetlights on a city path after a woman was subjected to a sexual attack.

Long-running concerns about the safety of the dimly-lit walkway behind Morrisons in Gilmerton Road have been fuelled by the incident in the early hours of November 13.

Young vandals have been blamed for repeatedly smashing the lights on the path, which leads from the store car park to Hyvot’s Loan.

Marian Blackwood, whose 83-year-old friend lives near the store, complained to the chain’s head office after 
slipping on the path.

She said: “I was visiting a fortnight ago and was walking along the path, but I couldn’t see and slipped on the leaves. I just managed to save myself but it was really dark. About two or three days later I was back and I saw all the police tape everywhere.

“My friend is an elderly person – if someone like her slipped they could end up lying there all night. I don’t think it’s acceptable – it’s really scary. She doesn’t go on the path herself any more.”

Ms Blackwood added: “The lights are about 20 feet high, I don’t know why they can’t cover them with mesh to protect them from the vandals.”

Another local resident, who asked not to be named, said he found it “unpleasant” to use the path on his regular runs and dog walks.

He said: “This has been an issue for several years. I used to take the dog there in the winter but it’s just so dark. I felt bad enough as a male – it would be even worse for a female.”

A spokesman for Morrisons insisted the store would fix the lights. He said: “There is an ongoing issue with vandalism of our lights on the path leading to Hyvot’s Loan. Nonetheless, we will be repairing the damaged lights in the near future.”

A 26-year-old man has been charged in connection with the sexual assault earlier this month.