Pilton assault: Man charged with attempted murder

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An 18 year old man has been arrested and charged with attempted murder after a man was seriously assaulted in West Pilton on the evening of Wednesday 1 October.

The 18-year-old is due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Monday 6 October.

Forensic police scoured the area. Picture: Julie Bull

Forensic police scoured the area. Picture: Julie Bull

The 37 year old victim sustained serious injuries as a result of the incident and he remains in hospital in a serious but stable condition.

Detective Chief Inspector Gary Boyd said: “Police are continuing to follow a positive line of enquiry into this incident, including the theft of the victim’s car prior to the serious assault. Anyone with information about either incident should contact Police Scotland on 101 or alternatively, the charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

The victim, named locally as Jie Yu, 37, owner of the Peking Garden takeaway, was attacked in West ­Pilton Park.

He had jumped on his bicycle to give chase after his silver Volkswagen Polo, parked outside his Ferry Road Drive premises, was allegedly taken.

The events unfolded near the Peking Garden. Picture: Julie Bull

The events unfolded near the Peking Garden. Picture: Julie Bull

His heartbroken wife, Mae Yu, has spoken of her agony after doctors told her he might die.

Mrs Yu, 34, said: “When I got to hospital I was told that he might not survive. I was really sad. I just started crying

“We have a young family and he works very hard to look after us.”

Although Mr Yu remains in intensive care, his wife said doctors had since told her his condition was improving.

Police kept the area taped off this morning. Picture: Julie Bull

Police kept the area taped off this morning. Picture: Julie Bull

One neighbour said he held up his hands and told the men he did not want any trouble before the horrific attack. Mr Yu remains in a “serious but stable” condition in Edinburgh Royal Infirmary’s intensive care unit.

Consultants were expected to decide this morning whether he faces surgery.

His wife Mae was at his ­bedside today while friends looked after their children at their Pilton home.

Police confirmed they were treating the assault as a hate crime and have detained a man in connection with the investigation.

Police on guard at the scene early today. Pic: Julie Bull

Police on guard at the scene early today. Pic: Julie Bull

But they are searching for others believed to have been involved in the attack and are calling on members of the community to speak out.

Neighbours said they were “disgusted” by the attack, and claimed that Mr Yu’s takeaway had been repeatedly vandalised over the past few months.

One friend, who did not want to be named, said: “His wife phoned me and said her husband was in hospital. She told me what happened. She is very upset. She was crying and very sad.

“It happened very quickly. My friend is still in ICU. He is injured very badly.”

He added: “We came from the same town in China, he has been here for more than ten years, I have been here seven years. It is not good for foreign people who are running a business here.”

The scene of the stabbing, beside the Pilton Equalities Project and Living Well Centre, was cordoned off with tape yesterday while police patrolled the area. Officers in plain clothes were also believed to be carrying out inquiries. A team of five forensic officers combed the scene and took swabs from the ground where Mr Yu was attacked.

The stolen car remained within the police cordon, with flecks of blood on the rear ­driver’s side door and on the road below.

Residents said the assault was the latest in a series of ­incidents in the Pilton area, with some saying the area is “the worst it’s ever been”. They told how a woman who lives in an upstairs flat overlooking the scene of the stabbing rushed to Mr Yu’s aid and helped stem the blood.

Another resident said she would “never forget” hearing Mrs Yu’s screams as she ran to the scene to find her husband injured on the ground.

She said: “They were slashing him. She was screaming his name. It’s breaking my heart.”

Mr and Mrs Yu, who live at nearby West ­Pilton Terrace, were described by people in the area as a quiet, hard-working family.

The couple have a nine-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter who attend Davidson’s Mains Primary School, as well as a young baby who is understood to be with family in China. A neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “They are a nice family. You couldn’t wish to meet nicer people. They would give my kids sweets.”

And a regular customer of the takeaway said: “He doesn’t speak much English. All he did was try to retrieve his car – it’s absolutely sickening.

“The police have been told this was coming for months. A group have been targeting the takeaway for months, smashing the windows.”

Another neighbour who did not want to be named said: “It’s got out of hand. The young folk around here have damaged all the shops.

“They also smashed the glass in the shop windows. They broke it again and again.”

Theodora Hidalgo, learning and training officer at the Pilton Equalities Project, said: “We have been helping the police with their inquiries.

“We told them that we had CCTV that could possibly assist and we are helping them.”

Detective Inspector Gary Boyd of the major investigation team, who is leading the probe, confirmed that Mr Yu’s car had been stolen just before the attack. He said: “What we do not yet know at this time, is whether the same individuals responsible for the theft are also responsible for the assault and so we are keen to hear from anyone who can assist us with this line of inquiry.

“Anyone with information relating to the theft of a silver Volkswagen Polo from Ferry Road Drive at around 9.30pm on Wednesday, or the serious assault, which took place in West Pilton Park a few minutes later should contact police immediately.”

Police Scotland said its officers were working with local community groups, the city council and lay advisers. Superintendent Liz McAinsh described the attack as “horrific” and pledged to devote significant resources to track down the culprits. She said officers were “keeping an open mind” about the alleged previous incidents at the takeaway.

Superintendent McAinsh said: “We have one male detained, and we need help from members of the public to understand how many were responsible. We know there were more than one. It’s a robust and rigorous inquiry being led by our investigation team,” she said, adding that police were pursuing several potential leads.

“It’s rare for anyone in the city to be assaulted in this way. We need to understand whether it was racially motivated. Clearly a Chinese man being assaulted by a group of males is unusual, and we need to understand why this has happened. Hate crime is completely unacceptable.”