Man jailed for stabbing two tourists in hotel murder bid

Peter Cameron, 39, wounded his victims in a frenzied knife attack in Edinburgh.

A high risk knife attacker who tried to murder two tourists in a frenzied assault outside a hotel has been jailed.

Peter Cameron, 39, wounded the women in the unprovoked attack as they were getting ready to return to Northern Ireland following a short break in Edinburgh.

Cameron stabbed Bernadette Lester ten times in a four-second burst of violence as she stood outside the Apex Hotel in the city’s Grassmarket with her friend Gillian Clarke.

Mrs Clarke was then stabbed twice in the cheek and sustained injuries to her tongue and mouth.

A night porter at the hotel, Neil Robertson, was also wounded by the knife attacker as he went to the aid of the stricken guests.

A judge told Cameron at the High Court in Edinburgh: “This was a frenzied and shocking attack on three separate people which came from nowhere.”

Lady Scott said there was no background and no reason for the unwarranted attack and nothing to excuse Cameron’s conduct.

She pointed out that all three victims were severely injured and permanently disfigured by the assaults and the two friends and colleagues, who were nurses, were traumatised.

The judge imposed an Order for Lifelong Restriction (OLR) on Cameron, who has a record for violent crimes.

She ordered that he serve six years imprisonment before he becomes eligible to apply for release.

The judge told him that under the indeterminate sentence he must not assume he will be freed at the end of that period.

Cameron will only be released if the parole authorities decide it is no longer necessary for the protection of the public that he continues to be held in prison.

Cameron’s attacks on November 8, 2018, were captured on CCTV as he approached the women in a threatening way before being told to “move on” and then returned to lash out with the knife.

Mrs Clarke, 58, told Cameron’s trial last year that she and her friend went outside the hotel in the early hours of the morning for a cigarette after returning to the hotel following a meal.

She said they were having a conversation at an alley at the side of the premises when Cameron appeared and was told to “move on”.

She said he walked away but she then heard her friend said: “Jesus – Gillian, he is coming back.”

Mrs Clarke said: “The attack just happened so fast. It was frenzied.”

She said she initially thought she received two quick punches but realised she was bleeding.

She told the court: “I lay down because I am a nurse and I knew I was bleeding heavily.

“I took the black scarf that was round my neck and put it to my cheek and put pressure on it. My tongue was also bleeding and I was choking on the blood.”

Mrs Clarke said: “I remember shouting ‘Bernie, I’m bleeding’, but Bernie shouted ‘So am I’.”

Mrs Lester, who was 60 at the time of the assault, said: “I was stabbed once behind my right arm, twice on my right shoulder, once on my chest, once behind my right ear and had five defensive wounds on my left hand that were stitched.”

Cameron admitted attempting to murder Mrs Lester by repeatedly striking her on the head, neck and body with a knife to her severe injury, permanent disfigurement and to the danger of her life at a vennel beside the hotel.

He also admitted assaulting Mr Robertson to his severe injury and permanent disfigurement by striking him with the knife.

He further admitted assaulting Mrs Clarke to her severe injury and permanent disfigurement by repeatedly striking her on the head with the weapon. He had denied attempting to murder her but was unanimously convicted of the crime by a jury.

Mrs Clarke said: “The biggest impact it has had is in my confidence. I am very aware of how I look.”

Mrs Lester told the court that she had received counselling for post traumatic stress in the wake of the attack.

Defence counsel Ronnie Renucci QC said Cameron had “a very unfortunate childhood and adolescence”.

The court heard that an expert who produced a report on Cameron following his convictions had concluded that he was a high risk.

Cameron followed Wednesday’s proceedings by a video link to Low Moss prison, outside Glasgow.

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