The wife of a Chinese takeaway owner who was stabbed in the street has said she is haunted by the image of him lying in a pool of blood.
Mae Yu said she would never forget the moment she found her husband Jie after the horrific attack around the corner from their Pilton premises.
The 34-year-old, who has been at Mr Yu’s bedside in hospital since the incident last Wednesday, said he was “lucky to be alive”.
She said she and her husband, who have run the Peking Garden since 2009, had been fearing for their safety after a campaign of intimidation. Their Ferry Road Drive business, among others, has been targeted repeatedly by vandals who smashed windows and sprayed graffiti on the shutters.
She said: “Everybody is scared every day. They are thinking about what could happen tomorrow. It’s getting worse and worse.
“So many teenagers are there, it’s like a competition on the streets.
“There are around 30 teenagers after midnight till 4am every night. It’s not only Chinese [that are targeted], it’s other people too.”
Mr Yu, who had been pursuing a group of men who stole his car just minutes before the attack, suffered up to eight stab wounds in his side, a slash to his throat and several smaller cuts to his hands. His wife today described the moment that she went looking for Mr Yu after he gave chase on his bicycle, to find her husband of ten years lying in agony in West Pilton Park.
“When I close my eyes every night I think about what happened to him. I’m always thinking about what happened to him,” she said.
“There was so much blood, I saw him lying down on the ground. His whole body was bleeding, and there was so much blood on the floor. Every night when I close my eyes I can’t stop thinking about it. That picture is always in my eyes.”
She went in the ambulance with him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary, and has barely left his side since.
Mrs Yu said doctors were optimistic about his recovery, however, she said the traumatic incident should prompt police and the city council to take tougher action on antisocial behaviour in Pilton.
She said: “My husband is so lucky to have survived. I can guarantee that if the police and council do nothing, it will get worse and someone will be killed.
“There has been so much trouble over a couple of years and the council does nothing to protect the people in the area. We need the council to do something for the area to get better. So many people stay in the area and they don’t feel safe.”
She said she felt that Pilton had deteriorated over the last year, claiming that it was “still ok” when they first opened the premises.
But a rising number of youths congregating in the crescent on Ferry Road Drive have created an intimidating atmosphere.
Mrs Yu called for more CCTV cameras to be installed to help catch offenders.
“They do nothing to protect the area so the trouble gets worse,” she said. “They have smashed windows before, over a few months. I know a lot of people who have moved out already.
“The police have asked me if I want to move out, but we own the house, so if I wanted to move out it couldn’t be straight away. I can’t feel safe. It feels horrible to go back to my house.”
Forth councillor and deputy city leader Steve Cardownie pledged to raise the concerns with Police Scotland and the council’s chief executive Sue Bruce.
He said: “I will see if incidents in Muirhouse and Pilton are more than anywhere else and if so, how are we going to address it? One incident like this is one too many.
“If people continue to operate in the area and carry out these type of acts then we have to ensure that we clamp down on it. People should be free and feel safe to walk the streets.”
Mr Yu, 37, was transferred from the ERI to St John’s hospital in Livingston on Sunday so he can be monitored by throat and neck specialists. Doctors are considering performing surgery on his neck.
The couple’s two children, who are aged seven and nine, have not been told the full extent of Mr Yu’s injuries.
They are being looked after by friends at the family home in West Pilton Terrace, while their baby brother lives with family in China.
Mr Yu has not been able to speak yet, but he has been communicating by writing notes and smiling and nodding to visitors.
It is not yet clear how long he will be in hospital. “The doctor said my husband was so lucky,” added Mrs Yu.
Police are still looking for other men believed to be involved in the incident, and also anyone connected with the theft of Mr Yu’s silver Volkswagen Polo shortly before 9.30pm on Wednesday night. Officers are investigating whether the alleged assault was racially-motivated.
An 18-year-old man appeared in court yesterday charged with attempted murder in connection with the incident.
Gary Reid, from Edinburgh, made a brief appearance in private before Sheriff Pamela Bowman.
He made no plea or declaration and the case was continued for further inquiry. He was remanded in custody.
Residents meet for talks on beating crime
Community concerns about crime in the Pilton area will be aired at a public meeting tonight.
Dozens of residents are expected to gather at West Pilton Neighbourhood Centre to discuss how to combat crime.
Representatives from Police Scotland and the city council will also be in attendance.
Existing concerns about crime in the area have been heightened by the attack on Mr Yu, who is well-known in the local community.
Tonight’s meeting, which had been planned by members of the community before Wednesday night’s incident, is expected to cover widespread concerns about large groups of teenagers who are alleged to be driving stolen motorbikes around the area.
Police have said they have boosted high-visibility patrols since the assault on Mr Yu, and officers are working with the council and local community groups to help reassure the public.
‘Every year it’s getting worse. It’s just not safe’
THERE is not quite a full moon over Pilton.
It is just before 8pm and there are already teenagers on streets corners, or running along pavements.
Some are on foot while others are on push bikes or motorbikes. A young man circles the block on a track bike, revving it over the speed humps.
An ear-splitting scream comes out of the darkness of the park, perhaps a shriek of laughter.
None of the hoodie-sporting youngsters are accompanied by an adult.
But they are not causing any real trouble as far as we can see.
Even the teenage boy swinging what looks like a pool cue round his head is not doing so in a threatening way.
It is more in the manner of a baton-twirler in a brass band, or perhaps he is recreating a scene from an action film.
But an elderly couple and their rather timid-looking dog are not taking any chances.
They all cross over the road, casting nervous sidelong glances at the lone cue-holder.
There is a palpable tension in the air which borders on fear after the incident involving Jie Yu.
A resident living close to where it happened says she now wants to move away. “Everybody’s nervous. You are frightened they might come to your house,” she says. “Every year it’s getting worse and the teenagers are getting older, and doing more stuff. It’s just not safe.”
Her ten-year-old son adds: “I’m pretty scared to go outside, even in the afternoon to play.
“You don’t know what will happen. They might come out of the bushes.”
One man, who claims both he and his daughter have been threatened at knifepoint, says he is nervous walking the streets.
He says: “Something has to be done. My shop was burgled on Saturday. That is the second time I have been robbed.”
His teenage daughter was threatened by a male who wanted to steal her mobile phone.
“I was the only one in the street and he threatened me,” she said.
Residents claim car windows are broken for sport and that groups of teenagers have been known to tip cars over.