By Cara Sulieman
A TOURIST told how he had a glass smashed over his head by a hotel owner in an argument about the release of the Lockerbie bomber.
Samuel Hogue described how a “pleasant” conversation over a few whiskies turned violent when the controversial topic was brought up.
He had been drinking with William Preston, 58, in the bar of Hotel Ceilidh-Donia on Marchhall Crescent in Edinburgh.
Mr Preston returned from a night out with his wife Annette and joined Mr Hogue in the bar area where he started to dish out free drinks on August 23 last year.
It is alleged that he later smashed a whisky tumbler over the head of the American severely injuring him and leaving him needing seven stitches.
Preston also faces a breach of the peace charge for threatening to kill police officers and medical staff when they were taking him to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary for treatment him for the injuries he received in the incident.
Mr Hogue told the court that they pair had been getting on well until they started discussing the release of Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi just days earlier.
He told the court: “Mr Preston really was pleasant to talk to.
“He was good conversation.”
He said: “I honestly believe it was because I was an American and the Lockerbie bomber had just been released a couple of days earlier and there was a lot in the media about how America was boycotting Scotland.”
Mr Hogue went on to tell the court that the only thing he said about the controversial topic was “that stinks”.
He said: “I was just listening to him because he was leading the conversation anyway.
“I remember that to be the last words I said before that happened.
“Right after that he hit me. He looked at me for a second then he hit me.
“After I was hit everything was a blur.
“I really thought I was going to die that night.”
The American had been in Scotland for a wedding and was due to fly back in the early hours of August 24.
After he was struck, Mr Hogue ran out of the hotel to try and get some help.
He said: “I ran to the second house and Mrs Preston saw me knocking on the door so I went back to the sidewalk.
“She asked me to go back to the B&B and she would help me.
“I didn’t want to go back to the B&B.
“I ran, kept running to a different house to get help. I kind of collapsed on the next house’s steps.
“I slammed on the door and lay down on the steps and the police showed up.
“I kind of heard it (the blood) pulsing out of my head. It was awful.”
The trial, before Sheriff Mhairi Stephen, continues.