Stabbing victim Jie Yu ‘lucky to be alive’

Jie and his wife Mae run the Peking Garden takeaway in what Mr Yu describes as a 'dangerous place'. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
Jie and his wife Mae run the Peking Garden takeaway in what Mr Yu describes as a 'dangerous place'. Pic: Phil Wilkinson
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A Chinese takeaway owner who was brutally stabbed two months ago has told of his disappointment in the police as he recovers from his horrific ordeal.

Jie Yu, known to the local community as Jack, is still recovering from the attack in West Pilton Park on October 1.

He returned home from hospital in mid-October, but it could be months before he is strong enough to work.

Although his ten wounds – including a deep cut to his throat – are healing, he is struggling to sleep and suffers traumatic nightmares.

Speaking to the Evening News in his first interview since the attack, Mr Yu said he felt “lucky to be alive”, but “disappointed” in the police.

The 37-year-old said he had reported at least six incidents of vandalism and threatening behaviour outside his Ferry Road Drive premises over the past two years, but he and his wife were left feeling “helpless” when incidents were not dealt with promptly.

Their car was vandalised on numerous occasions, the window of the takeaway was smashed and staff were often concerned about the 30-strong group of youths who congregated outside, allegedly joyriding on stolen motorbikes.

Mr Yu, who has been looking after the couple’s two children while his wife, Mae, runs their Peking Garden takeaway, said: “This is the capital city and we have stayed here a long time. The police don’t have the power to tackle criminals.

“If we called the police, they wouldn’t come straight away. They would come the next day or a couple of days after. We have so many sheets [of incident numbers]. We get some incident numbers and then they don’t catch anybody. The trouble is still on the streets.”

Mr and Mrs Yu are considering moving away but said it was a “difficult choice” as their two older children, aged nine and seven, are settled in school.

Temporary CCTV has been fitted at their home, and they have been given a special panic alarm by the police.

Since the incident, for which three men have been charged with attempted murder, officers have stepped up patrols, launching the StrongerNorth campaign alongside the council and other agencies to combat antisocial behaviour.

But Mr Yu, who suffered ten stab wounds to his neck, hands, arms and left side, said: “We are still wary about being in the area. It’s a dangerous place. I was very scared that I was going to die – who would be there for the children? I am lucky to be alive.”

His wounds are still tender – and a deep cut to his left hand has left him with no feeling in two of his fingers. He is struggling to sleep – as the injuries to his left side are too sore to lie on – but when he does drift off, he suffers vivid flashback nightmares of the attack.

Mr Yu, who was treated at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and St John’s for ten days after the incident, has regular appointments so doctors can keep track of his progress.

He tires easily and is not yet able to carry heavy items, meaning it will be some time before he can return to running his business. When asked if he was frustrated about not being able to go to work, Mr Yu said: “I have no choice.”

Mrs Yu, 34, said: “He still has an image in his mind. I don’t like going through West Pilton Park or Gardens, I still remember seeing him lying in blood. If it had not happened to my husband, it would have happened to somebody else.

“The last couple of years, there has been so much trouble. Every time we phoned the police, we were not getting results.”

Mr and Mrs Yu will meet Edinburgh North MSP Malcolm Chisholm, local councillor Vicki Redpath and council community safety officer Ruth Stanley next month.

They said they hoped the meeting would help put their minds at rest about the action being taken to combat crime.

Mrs Yu said: “We are worried about the future. There’s been so much trouble, we still don’t understand why there are no powers to deal with this. They [the authorities] let people stay in this dangerous area.

“If something was done before, this would not have happened. Doing something after is too late. I want people to remember what happened to my husband, so others can be careful. I hope something can be done to change the area.”

The family has been overwhelmed by the well-wishes and support from the wider community, particularly customers who have come into the shop with flowers and cards.

Mr Yu added: “Thank you to the people who helped me and who phoned the police. When I was in hospital so many people came into the takeaway and asked how I was. We are really thankful for that.”

His wife added: “The children are young, they don’t know what happened. They don’t know the seriousness.”

Superintendent Liz McAinsh insisted that every effort was being taken to combat crime in the north Edinburgh area.

She said: “We are aware of the reports made to us by Mr Yu and his wife and can give assurances that inquiries were made into every incident.

“Crime and antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated and Police Scotland is committed to tackling those responsible. There are complex social issues in the north of Edinburgh and we are working with the community, council and other partners to address them.”

In the past ten days, the ongoing StrongerNorth drive has seen several vehicles seized, arrests made, tenancy warnings issued and positive stop-and-searches carried out.

James Hogg, 24, Kieran Hutcheon, 19, and Gary Reid, 18, were all remanded in custody after appearing at Edinburgh Sheriff Court last month charged with the attempted murder of Mr Yu.