Man guilty of attempted murder attack over smashed window dispute

The scene after the attack outside the King's Theatre, Picture: Alex Orr
The scene after the attack outside the King's Theatre, Picture: Alex Orr

A THUG attempted to murder a man outside a theatre after he wrongly blamed him for a smashed window.

Cleaver-wielding Gordon Moffat and an armed accomplice repeatedly struck at Grant Moffat with weapons as the unarmed victim tried to flee from the surprise attack.

The horrific assault was captured on CCTV at the King’s Theatre, in Edinburgh, and shown to the victim for the first time as jurors watched at Moffat’s trial.

A court heard that Moffat, 43, had set out “to teach a lesson” to his victim who had been on a night out with a girlfriend when he was ambushed by his attackers.

The injured man suffered a head wound requiring nine staples and lost a finger as he sustained hand injuries trying to fend of blows.

Moffat had denied attempting to murder his victim at Tarvit Street, in Edinburgh, on September 28 last year by pursuing him, grabbing his clothing and restraining him and repeatedly striking him on the head and body with a cleaver and knife to his severe injury, permanent impairment and disfigurement while acting with another.

A jury today, unanimously convicted him of the crime.

READ MORE: Manhunt underway after ‘frenzied’ knife attack in Edinburgh

The convicted drug dealer, who has previous convictions for assault, had offered to plead guilty to a reduced charge of serious assault which the Crown rejected.

Mr Moffat said he had been at a neighbouring pub, the Cuckoo’s Nest, with his then partner having a drink but had gone outside to have a cigarette at recessed stairs at the theatre across the road.

He said: “I just heard a voice or something. I think I stood up and then I got a blow to the back of the head.”

Mr Moffat told the High Court in Edinburgh he was struck with “a machete or meat cleaver or something like that”.

“There was a few other swings and blows and I was trying to protect my head with my hand. I managed to break free and I turned round. There was blood all over my face. It was everywhere,” he said.

He said he had sustained injuries to his left hand while he was trying to protect his head, including a finger that had to be amputated. He added: “It was just hanging off. They couldn’t save it.”

Advocate depute Liam Ewing asked the bricklayer how long the assault lasted and he replied: “It felt like a lifetime.”

Mr Moffat said that attack had affected his character and personality. He told the court: “I have survived what I believe was an attempted murder.”

After he was shown the footage of the assault on him for the first time he said: “Can I just say that was horrific.”

When detectives went to Moffat’s address in Laurieston Place, in Edinburgh, they found a mobile phone with text messages saying: “Got Grant Moffat the night and put him in intensive care” and “Left him in a pool of blood”.

The court heard that Moffat had previously approached staff at the address after his window was broken and named Grant Moffat as the person he thought was responsible. But when CCTV was checked it looked like the culprits were two females.

Moffat also claimed that he had received information from another man that Mr Moffat (42) was planning to rob him _ an allegation the victim denied.

Unemployed Moffat told the court he had got “angrier and angrier” and decided to go and look for his victim. He said he was told where he was and looked across the road and saw him sitting on steps with a woman.

He said he had earlier armed himself with a large kitchen knife and met up with another man who was also carrying a knife. He told the court: “I was going to go and assault Grant but I wanted him to come with me.”

Moffat said: “I was going to attack him as soon as I saw him.” But he added the other man attacked the victim first and he joined in. He said: “I accept I chopped his finger off because I struck him.”

He told the court that he was not out of control and agreed with the prosecutor that he was cold and calm as he tried to strike the victim.

Moffat claimed to was trying to “chop” the victim and was not attempting to stab him. He added: “I couldn’t hit him with precision because he was moving all over the shop. I wasn’t going to kill him.”

Defence counsel David Nicholson told the court that Moffat had last worked about 15 years ago when he was employed as a baker.

The trial judge, Lord Uist, told Moffat that he had been convicted of “a very grave crime”. He deferred sentence on him until next month and called for the preparation of a background report with a risk assessment. Moffat was remanded in custody.