German visitor almost killed in Edinburgh street assault

A young German, who had been attending a conference in Edinburgh, almost lost his life, when he played peacemaker in an argument between a couple.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 4:40 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 11:47 am
Edinburgh Sheriff Court
Edinburgh Sheriff Court

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court today, 22-year old Ethan Baker-Blake, pled guilty to assaulting Benno Orschulik to the danger of his life on December 3 last year in George Street.

Fiscal Depute Aidan Higgins told Sheriff Alistair Noble that Mr Orschulik had been attending a conference in the Capital and was due to fly back to Germany in the early hours of December 3.

He and some other men, who had been at the conference, went to the Opal Lounge around midnight with a view to having a couple of drinks.

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Benno Orschulik was assaulted on George Street

The Fiscal told the court that they left the nightclub at around 2am, and there was no indication Mr Orschulik or any of the others were under the influence of alcohol.

As they walked along George Street, the group saw Baker-Blake and a woman arguing. The man appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, was very aggressive, and was holding the woman’s arm. She appeared very distressed.

Mr Orschulik asked the man to let go of the woman and the man told him not to get involved or he would “hurt him”.

When Mr Orschulik did not move away, the Fiscal said Baker-Blake “flung out his arm striking Mr Orschulik on the face with his elbow”.

Benno Orschulik was assaulted on George Street

He appeared unconscious, as he did nothing to prevent himself from falling and struck his head on the ground. There was blood coming from his right ear and police officers called for an ambulance.

Mr Higgins said there was “great concern” at the hospital because of the length of time Mr Orschulik had been unconscious - blood was still coming from his ear and he had vomited five times in 40 minutes. He was found to have a fractured skull with clotting blood and there was a significant risk to his life.

His skull was opened up, the blood clots removed and it was the neurosurgeon’s opinion that if this had not been done, the patient would have died.

Mr Orschulik’s parents were contacted and because he could not be flown home they drove him back. He had to undergo occupational therapy, but has permanent impairment with loss of hearing, headaches and tiredness.

Sheriff Noble deferred sentence on Baker-Blake until December 14 for a social work report, but refused bail, pointing out that he was in custody because he had not attended his trial for this matter in November and had a previous conviction for assault to injury.