By Shaun Milne, Oliver Farrimond & Paul Thornton
POLICE were called to the scene of a bloody knife assault on a 74-year-old woman in Edinburgh yesterday – and left stunned to discover her alleged attacker was an 85-year-old man.
Officers raced to the drama after being alerted to the incident at Clermiston Road at around 1pm to discover the woman needing urgent medical attention after being stabbed in the chest.
The woman – who was said to be in a “serious” condition, was ferried by ambulance to the specialist accident and emergency unit at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where doctors were able to stabilise her.
Detectives quickly apprehended the man in connection with the incident and took him into custody for questioning.
Fellow officers sealed off both ends of the street at Old Kirk Road and Corstorphine Hill Crescent while they launched a full investigation.
Officers in uniform were seen taking statements from locals while diversions were put in place for traffic and notified to early evening radio bulletins.
Police later confirmed they were taking the incident seriously and appealed for help in piecing together just what had happened.
A spokesman said: “Lothian and Borders Police are currently responding to a serious assault on a 74-year-old woman in Clermiston Road, Edinburgh.
“The woman has been taken to the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary where she is in a stable condition.
“An 85-year-old man has been detained and enquiries are now ongoing to establish the circumstances surrounding the incident.
Last night the woman was named locally by neighbours as Benedicta McLean.
One female friend said: “We’re all still in shock, it’s a terrible thing to have happened.
“We were told she was stabbed but is stable.
“They took her up to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary and she is still there now. It’s so awful.
“She lives on her own, she’s from India originally and doesn’t have any family.
“The police have been searching the garden, I guess they are treating it as a crime scene.
“We don’t know who the man was. I don’t think he was from our street.
“It’s so sad.”
A 43-year-old man who lives in the same street but who asked not to be named said that the woman was known locally as Bennie and was “a lovely woman”.
He said: “She is a lovely woman – she always asks how the family are and takes an interest, a really nice woman.
“I’m really upset.”
Another neighbour added: “We’re just glad she’s still with us. We can only be thankful for that.”
Police refused to confirm the name of the woman but were expected to issue a further statement last night.
Police prevented members of the media from entering the street yesterday evening, but locals said they were shocked by what had happened.
Neighbour Mary Dawson, 79, said locals were used to teenage gangs causing problems from time to time.
But she said: “Everyone here mixes very well so this is absolutely tragic.
“You do have trouble with young people sometimes – so this is particularly terrible.”
Retired Brian Mayes, 83, who also lives on the street, said: “The police are saying nothing.
“They arrived and I thought there had been a car accident or something.
“But as the hours went by and I saw some crime inspection people in their white overalls I knew it was more serious.
“They left in the middle of the afternoon.
“I was surprised but don’t know anything more than what was on the news. It’s a very quiet area usually. We’re not used to police presence, it’s very rare.”
Witnesses were asked to contact police on 0131 311 3131.