Man pleads guilty to attempted murder at Edinburgh pub

Brian Alexander pleaded guilty to attemptemting to murder a man at the Mechanic Arms pub in Gilmerton. Picture: TSPL
Brian Alexander pleaded guilty to attemptemting to murder a man at the Mechanic Arms pub in Gilmerton. Picture: TSPL

Footage of a brutal murder bid that was captured on camera was shown to a court today after a prosecutor gave a warning of it graphic content.

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Brian Alexander was seen launching his knife attack on a fellow pub customer in the Mechanic Arms bar, in Drum Street, in Edinburgh.

During his commentary on the film advocate depute Mark McGuire said: “The accused swings his right arm around the victim and stabs him from behind in the right upper part of his chest using a large kitchen knife.”

The prosecutor added: “The knife appears to penetrate the victim’s chest to the hilt.”

The attack victim, John Watt, reacted in shock and pushed Alexander away freeing the blade from his torso.

The High Court in Edinburgh heard that the pair had earlier been in the pub and after finishing a drink Alexander (60) had left the bar.

Mr McGuire said: “By that time, there had been absolutely no issues, altercations or cross words exchanged between them; nor had the accused been observed in possession of any weapon.”

But he added that it was understood while Alexander was away from the pub he was told by his partner that she was ending their relationship.

The prosecutor said: “This did not go down well with the accused, who was of the belief that the victim had previously had a liaison with his partner.”

About an hour after leaving the bar Alexander returned and could be seen with his gaze locked on his target before launching the knife attack.

Following the initial knife wound Alexander delivered a second blow aimed at the upper torso of Mr Watt (28).

Mr McGuire said: “The victim stumbles backwards and the accused can be seen brandishing the knife at him.”

Mr Watt fled from the pub and Alexander strode after him knocking over furniture in the bar and causing other customers to scramble out of his way.

Outside in the street Alexander told Mr Watt: “I will get you.” Mr Watt ran off and made a number of calls, including one to his mother, telling them of the attack before collapsing after getting about 500 yards down the road.

His mother arrived on the scene and called 999 and remained on the line while giving first aid to her son, before a passing fire crew stopped and began to help as they awaited an ambulance.

Mr Watt was taken to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and found to have a stab wound to his chest which had punctured a lung and pierced his liver. He also had stab wounds to his arms and a slash to his left hand.

He underwent surgery and remained in hospital for a week after the murder bid. The consultant surgeon who treated him said the major stab wound he suffered was potentially life-threatening.

Another customer in the bar had taken the knife off Alexander after telling him to calm down following the attack. He handed the weapon over to bar staff to be kept for the police.

The court heard that when Mr Watt, a roofer, first arrived at his local on November 27 last year he had asked for a bottle of lager but was told that Alexander had already paid for the drink.

Mr McGuire said: “They had known each other for a number of years and they would often buy each other a drink.”

Alexander, formerly of Hyvot Court, Edinburgh, admitted attempting to murder Mr Watt by repeatedly stabbing him to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of his life.

Unemployed Alexander, who has previously been jailed for assault, was out on bail from Edinburgh Sheriff Court at the time of the murder bid.

The judge, Lord Ericht, told Alexander: “You have pled guilty to a vicious attempted murder.” The judge remanded him in custody and called for a background report on him ahead of sentencing next month.