Edinburgh council security worker sacked after missing attempted murder bid

A SECURITY worker has been sacked after failing to record footage of an attempted murder bid outside a City hotel - because he allegedly fell asleep before the attack.

Monday, 1st July 2019, 5:14 pm
The attack took place outside the Apex Hotel in the Grassmarket in November last year.
The attack took place outside the Apex Hotel in the Grassmarket in November last year.

CCTV operator William Owens was reportedly on duty at the council’s street monitoring headquarters in the early hours of November 8 last year when Peter Cameron stabbed Northern Irish guests Bernadette Lester and Gillian Clarke.

Police radio reported the attack shortly after 3:30am, with the hope the local authority’s 200-strong network of cameras would pick up Cameron fleeing the scene.

However, Mr Owens, 53, reportedly missed the incident and closer inspection of the cameras he was in charge of during the overnight shift revealed they had barely moved, leading an internal investigation to conclude he has dozed off.

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Over 200 CCTV cameras are in operation in public areas around Edinburgh.

Mrs Lester, 61, was stabbed ten times in a four second frenzy, while Mrs Clarke, 58, suffered two knife wounds to the face before hotel porter Neil Robertson chased off the attacker.

Mr Roberston, 37, also sustained a stab wound to the hand.

City of Edinburgh council confirmed the disciplinary procedure against Mr Owens had ended but declined to provide further details.

He was initially slapped with a suspension last year, but was later dismissed following a probe into the incident.

A City of Edinburgh Council spokesperson said: “It would be inappropriate to comment further as this is a confidential matter relating to an individual.”

Part of the attack was captured on CCTV and was later brought up as evidence in the trial of Mr Cameron earlier this month.

Cameron, 38, pled guilty to trying to murder Mrs Lester and assaulting Mr Robertson, however denied attempting to murder Mrs Clarke.

The nurse said she and Mrs Lester went outside for a cigarette after returning to the hotel following a meal.

They were chatting when Cameron, 38, appeared and Mrs Lester, who works for a health trust in Northern Ireland, told him to “move on”.

She told the High Court in Edinburgh that he walked away but recalled hearing her friend say: “Jesus, Gillian he is coming back.”

Mrs Clarke said: “The attack just happened so fast. It was frenzied.” She thought she received two quick punches but realised she was bleeding.

She said: “I lay down because I am a nurse and I knew I was bleeding very heavily. I took the black scarf that was round my neck and put it to my cheek and put pressure on it. My tongue was also bleeding and I was choking on the blood.”

“I remember shouting ‘Bernie I’m bleeding, I’m bleeding’ but Bernie shouted ‘so am I’.”

Mr Roberston intervened and sustained a wound to his hand before running inside.

A jury convicted Cameron of Mrs Clarke’s attempted murder and he has been remanded for sentencing.