Man admits OAP knife attacks


By Paul Thornton

A MAN has admitted the unprovoked knife attacks of two pensioners during broad daylight in a busy street in Edinburgh.Sheriff court stock pic

The random assaults on two OAPs aged 79 and 82 occurred within minutes of each other in Easter Road in Leith on February 4.

Francis McGeachie, 82, was left with a 15cm slash on his face and will be scarred for life, while 79-year-old Elizabeth Essien is now afraid to go outside and feels forced to take taxis everywhere.

Despite his ordeal, Mr McGeachie has vowed to continue to enjoy his life and said he went out the very next day after he was attacked.

The two were attacked by Robert Murphy, 29, who went on a rampage with a Stanley knife he had bought from a nearby B&Q shortly before.

Police used the CCTV from the hardware shop to identify Murphy and DNA taken from the blade linked him to the attacks.

And at Edinburgh Sheriff Court he admitted two charges of assault, including one charge of endangering Mr McGeachie’s life.


Fiscal depute John Kirk told the court how Murphy had bought the blade from the DIY giant just before 1pm that day.

Mr Kirk said: “Shortly after 1pm the Ms Essien was making her way on Easter Road to catch a bus when she became aware of a male approaching her.

“She felt uneasy about this and made to cross the road. The accused came up and struck her on the face.”

Mr Kirk said that while Murphy had been holding the knife at this point, fortunately the blade had not made contact with Ms Essien’s face and she was left shaken but not badly injured and did not need medical treatment.


Murphy continued in a straight line from the B&Q and where he attacked Ms Essien when he came across Mr McGeachie.

Mr Kirk said: “Mr McGeachie was going about his daily business and he was on his way to buy a newspaper.

“He was aware of a man passing on his left hand side and as he passed by he shouted something.

“Mr McGeachie thought that the man had tried to knock off his hat and as he passed he had run his finger down the left side of his face.”

But as the elderly man made his way down the street he soon became aware of the blood pouring from his face and had to be raced to Edinburgh Royal Infirmary.


There he was treated for a 15cm gash running from his mouth to his ear. Doctors said if the slash had been one inch lower, the attack could have been fatal.

Mr McGeachie will be left scarred for life and can no longer use a razor blade.

The blade linking Murphy to the attacks was found discarded with Mr McGeachie’s blood still on it. DNA also on the weapon matched that of Murphy’s and he was arrested three days later.

Mr Kirk said that following the ordeal Ms Essien has been left shaken by the incident and is wary of people when she goes out.

But he added: “Mr McGeachie said despite the unpleasantness he is not going to let it effect his enjoying a pleasant life and even went out the day after.”

Murphy’s solicitor, Yvonne McKerrell said her client was being held at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital after psychiatric problems were identified.

Sheriff Kathrine Mackie deferred sentence for background reports and Murphy will return to court next month.

He continues to be held at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital.