Law official tells of the moment he saw attacker approach

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A SENIOR law official who was brutally attacked outside his Murrayfield home has told of the moment he saw his attacker approaching.

Leslie Cumming, 68, said he saw a “circle of pale face coming out of the darkness” before the assault in a lane behind his home in January 2006.

He also revealed he tried to unveil the man’s face by pulling a balaclava from his head.

Mr Cumming was the deputy chief executive of the Law Society of Scotland when the incident took place.

He was giving evidence at the trial of Robert Graham, 46, who is accused of attempting to murder him.

Jurors at the High Court in Edinburgh heard how Mr Cumming saw a man approach as he emerged from his car after returning from work.

He described how he realised it was a man wearing a balaclava and it soon became clear he was walking towards him.

As the man approached him with both hands raised, he tried but failed to pull the balaclava from his face, Mr Cumming explained.

A struggle followed and he was “struck on the face”, losing the grip on the balaclava.

He said he realised soon afterwards there was a blade involved and there was blood running down the side of his face. He said: “At the point where I felt the blood running down my neck I realised this was a very serious matter, dangerous, life-threatening and goodness knows how it was going to turn out.”

Asked by Solicitor-General for Scotland, Lesley Thomson QC, prosecuting, what happened next, he described how the attacker stood on his foot and he lost his balance. He said: “I had one hand on the ground and as I raised myself up again there was a pounding on my back, a tattoo of blows.”

Jurors heard that after standing up, he leaned on the wall to gather himself as the “adrenalin was draining away” and he saw a “shape walking away”.

Mr Cumming added that nothing was said during the incident which lasted “seconds”.

Mr Graham is accused of attempting to murder Mr Cumming in a lane adjoining Ormidale Terrace, Murrayfield, on January 23, 2006.

He is accused of partially masking his face and repeatedly striking Mr Cumming on the head and body with a knife to his severe injury, permanent disfigurement, permanent impairment and to the danger of his life. He denies the charge.

Mr Cumming told the court he had been in hospital for two days after the attack. He pointed to the right hand side of his face and described how he had been left with a scar as well as one on his chin and multiple marks on his back.

The trial before judge John Morris QC continues.