Man walks free from attempted murder charge

Peter Stewart with wife Susan at the High Court in Livingston. Picture: Vic Rodrick
Peter Stewart with wife Susan at the High Court in Livingston. Picture: Vic Rodrick
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A MAN accused of trying to stab an Aberdeen drug dealer to death in an Edinburgh close has walked free from court after the Crown withdrew all charges against him.

Ryan Ellis had denied attempting to murder Peter Stewart, 44, by knifing him through the heart in an alleged drugs “ambush” last April.

He had also denied stabbing Mr Stewart’s 46-year-old brother, James, during the incident near his home in Wardieburn on April 8 last year.

But after advocate depute Paul Brown announced his decision to withdraw the allegations yesterday, judge Lord Glennie formally acquitted the 31-year-old and told him he was free to go.

As Ellis left the High Court in Livingston accompanied by friends and relatives, he said: “Nine months on remand for nothing.”

His co-accused – a 17-year-old youth who cannot be identified for legal reasons – is still on trial for assaulting James and for attempting to murder Peter and robbing him while subject to four bail orders.

However, he was formally acquitted of possessing the class B drug cannabis at a house in Wardieburn Terrace while on bail after the prosecution also withdrew that charge. He denies the other charges.

Peter repeated his evidence yesterday that he had travelled from Aberdeen to Edinburgh with £6500 to buy cannabis and not a car as he told police earlier.

Mr Stewart, who is unemployed and on disability benefits, admitted he had started dealing the drug after getting into financial difficulties.

He said: “I started selling all my collectibles. I’d been collecting for over 25 years. When I collected a certain amount of money from the sale of these items someone told me it was easy. You buy a bar, sell it in little bits and double your money.

“I thought I could go through with it, come to court and say that I went down to buy a car. I was hiding behind things that I’d done. I was well out of my comfort zone, to be honest.

“It wasn’t easy at all. I had to come up with a story whereupon I didn’t want the relationship with my wife to finish. I didn’t want the children to know that their dad was a drug dealer. In some ways it’s a relief to get it out in the open. I’m done.

“My life is pretty much just one big nightmare. The truth is I got stabbed. My brother got stabbed and I nearly died.”

The trial continues.

newsen@edinburghnews.com