Edinburgh knife attacker warned he could face life sentence over murder bid

A knife attacker who brutally stabbed a man in the neck in a murder bid before wounding a second victim has been warned he could face a life sentence.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 1:21 pm
The High Court in Edinburgh.

Martin Innes claimed he was left black and blue when trouble flared and alleged to police after he was arrested that he was the victim of a stabbing and showed officers a cut on his lip.

But Innes, 33, had stuck a knife in one victim's neck and slashed at a second man during a spree of violence.

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Edinburgh knife attacker stabbed man in neck but told police he was the victim

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The High Court in Edinburgh.

He also admitted assaulting William Gray, 56, by repeatedly striking him on the head with a knife on the same date at the same street.

Innes also pled guilty to behaving in a threatening manner by making violent threats, brandishing knives and striking a car with his fists and weapons.

Sentence was deferred on Innes until today when a judge told him he was ordering that a full risk assessment report be prepared on him by an experienced psychiatrist.

Lord Pentland told the High Court in Edinburgh that he had an "open mind" over the ultimate disposal in the case, but such an assessment can lead to the imposition of an Order for Lifelong Restriction.

The judge said that Innes' criminal record was "escalating in its gravity" and he has repeatedly been convicted of crimes of violence.

"He has committed the offence of attempted murder by use of a knife and he has then gone on to use the knife again in a public place," said the judge.

The court heard that on the day of the attack Mr Gray was allowed home to his flat in Moredunvale Place for a few hours from hospital after he was admitted the previous month following a neurological collapse.

Mr Johnston was also at the flat as he was a friend of Mr Gray's son, James Reilly. Innes arrived at the address with a teenage girl but an argument broke out and he left.

Mr Johnston and Mr Reilly also left the property. Mr Reilly realised that Innes was armed with two knives and shouted "He's got a knife" and then "He's got another bigger one."

Advocate depute Margaret Barron said Innes punched Mr Johnston on the face and, after a further struggle, the attack victim tried to run off.

The prosecutor said: "Due to a spinal condition Mr Johnston was unable to run far. The accused caught up with Mr Johnston and stabbed him to the right side of his neck. The accused then left."

Mr Johnston was initially unaware he had been stabbed but began to feel weak and when he met up with Mr Reilly was told he had been stabbed.

He was taken to hospital and was found to have a knife injury that was close to his right carotid artery and his windpipe.

Miss Barron said: "A penetrating injury to this area of the neck, near to vital structures in the neck, carries an obvious potential risk to life."

A private hire driver turned up to pick up Mr Gray and he got in the front passenger seat. A teenage girl saw Innes pull a knife from his sock and he approached the vehicle and began shouting at Mr Gray and said: "You all think I'm a dafty."

Innes struck Mr Gray on the face with the knife three times and his wounds were later washed and closed with steri-strips.

Police recovered two knives from the scene and took a statement from the teenage girl who received a phone call from Innes during which she put on loudspeaker. During it Innes was heard saying: "I stabbed him in the neck, the f***ing wee prick."

Innes was detained the following day and claimed that he was stabbed and told police: "I've no done anything. I'm the one black and blue."

Unemployed Innes, who has 26 previous convictions for offences, including serious assault, claimed that he had been set upon and only used his fists.

The court heard that he was assessed in a background report prepared on him as posing a very high risk of re-offending.

Defence counsel Kevin McCallum said: "I have to accept, as does he, that this report makes pretty depressing and, from the court's point of view, concerning reading."

But he said there was at least some insight or recognition by Innes that he has problems that he needs to address.

Mr McCallum told the court that there was a recommendation to deal with Innes by imposing an extended sentence, involving a determinate jail term followed by a period of supervision.

Sentence was further deferred on Innes, who is in custody, until September.