A UNIVERSITY worker has told how he was savagely beaten by a neighbour from hell – and fears his attacker will come back to live in the same building when he is released from prison.
Robert Avinou was repeatedly punched in the face by David Blakey as he cleaned the communal stair of his flat.
The 64-year-old said the attack was the culmination of a series of incidents at the block on Dumbryden Gardens in Wester Hailes, with Mr Avinou and wife Jean subjected to intimidation by the 25-year-old over several months.
Blakey was last month jailed for a year for assaulting Mr Avinou – a parking attendant at Edinburgh University – with intent to injure over the stair attack on April 16.
Mr Avinou, a former Scottish Water engineer, told the Evening News: “There was no trouble at all with the girl downstairs, Blakey’s partner, until he moved in with her. Straight away he told one of our neighbours on the stair, ‘I’ve just done a five-stretch’, meaning time in prison, and we thought there might be trouble.”
The Avinous, who along with the majority of their neighbours own their flat, said they made a complaint about Blakey and his partner, a council tenant, to the city council some time later.
Mr Avinou said: “The day it happened I was washing the stair, which I do every fortnight, and he came out on to the stair.
“He had this letter saying his benefits had been stopped and he blamed me, because indirectly the council must have got onto him when we complained about him living there.
“He came down and started screaming and pushing his face right into mine. He was asking me to go outside but I’m only 5ft 2in, and he’s 25 and I’m 64. I was trying to ignore him.
“He grabbed me round the throat, I fell and knocked my head on the steps. I’m not exactly sure what happened but he was kneeling over me punching away at me. If Jean hadn’t come down I don’t know what would have happened.”
Mrs Avinou said she found her husband curled up on the stairs with Blakey raining down blows on him.
She said: “I don’t think I’ll ever forget what I saw. Rab was curled up on the floor, trying to protect himself, and he was punching and punching and punching Rab. Then he got up and put his fists up to me, but I said I’d phoned the police and he went off. With the ordeal we’ve had since then, I almost wish I’d never phoned the police.”
Mr Avinou said he was still badly bruised when he went to see his newborn granddaughter in hospital three days later.
He said: “My son had just had his second child and I had to go to the hospital black and blue and swollen. I can’t imagine what people would have thought.”
Mr and Mrs Avinou believe one year is too short a sentence and fear he could be out within months and back at the flat. Mr Avinou said: “It’s such a worry to have hanging over us, we’re sure he’ll be back.”
A city council spokesman said they could not comment on the issue of the tenancy.