Teenager admits attempted murder of refugee

19 July 2018, 12:28

Edinburgh

A teenager has admitted the racially-aggravated attempted murder of a Syrian refugee in Edinburgh.

Shabaz Ali was stabbed in an argument with Sean Gorman at a hostel in Upper Gilmore Place in the early hours of Thursday May 3.

Mr Ali, 25, had fled to Scotland five years ago with his family and was working as a barber and staying in the hostel as he looked for a new home.

Police Scotland said Gorman, 18, had been visiting the hostel and that Mr Ali called at his room due to loud noise.

Gorman made threats and racially abused the victim before stabbing him and leaving the property.

He was traced a short time later in Duff Street and arrested, with a lock knife recovered.

The 18-year-old pled guilty to racially-aggravated attempted murder as well as causing racially aggravated alarm to another woman within the hostel at the High Court in Edinburgh on Thursday, Police Scotland said.

The charity Positive Action in Housing have supported the Ali family and released pictures of Shabaz in critical care at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary after the attack.

His father Sivan told the charity he could hear his sons' attacker shout: "Why are you still here, why are you not back in your own country?"

Campaigners set up an online appeal for donations "to help Shahbaz recover and rebuild his life" with more than £12,000 raised.

Gorman will be sentenced in August.

Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger said: "Gorman's violence was extreme and left the victim with significant, life-threatening injuries. He showed utter disregard for the victim and another woman who was with him - made all the worse given the appalling racist language used.

"Whilst this attack happened within a private property, it gained a great deal of public and media interest and I'm pleased that Gorman has been brought to justice so quickly. Edinburgh is a vibrant place where people of different nationalities, faiths and backgrounds live together and the support shown by the local community for the victim and his family is far more indicative of the city's inclusivity than this one isolated incident.

"We work closely with all the different groups and communities across Edinburgh and hate crime and violence of this nature are roundly condemned. I hope that today's conviction helps the victim and his family to move past this terrible attack and I wish them well."