18-year-old pleads guilty to the attempted murder of a Syrian refugee in Edinburgh

25-year-old Shabaz Ali was stabbed six times and left with life-threatening injuries


Teenager Sean Gorman has admitted to stabbing Syrian refugee Shabaz Ali on the 3rd May 2018 in an racially-aggravated attack at a hostel in the Tollcross area of the city. Mr Ali survived the attack, but suffered life-threatening injuries from which he is still in recovery.

Gorman, who was found by police in Duff Street following the incident, reportedly used a lock knife to stab Ali 6 times.

Image may contain: Car, Automobile, Vehicle, Van, Transportation, Hospital, Clinic, Ambulance

The attack took place in Tollcross on May 3rd

At a High Court hearing, Detective Chief Inspector Paul Grainger of Police Scotland 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."

Mr Ali, who fled to Scotland five years ago after losing nine members of his family in an Islamic State on his home city of Kobane in northern Syria, was working as a barber at the time of the attack. He had been temporarily staying in the hostel where the stabbing occurred whilst looking for a new home.

Image may contain: Head, Poster, Collage, Clothing, Apparel, Brick, Person, People, Human

The victim, Syrian refugee Shabaz Ali

The attacked followed a row that broke out on the 3rd May over noise in the privately-owned hostel for the homeless in central Edinburgh. Mr Ali called at the room he believed the noise was coming from, and found teenager Gorman inside. Gorman reportedly shouted: "Go back to your country", prompting Mr Ali to call security. Mr Ali told BBC Scotland that Gorman then took a knife out and said: "I'm going to stab you."

Gorman was found and arrested later that day, and was taken to court the following morning. However, Police Scotland took several days to issue a press notice about the assault. It was instead Sivan Ali, father of Shabaz Ali, who alerted the media about the racially-fuelled attack that left his son in need of extensive treatment in intensive care.

Image may contain: Pet, Mammal, Dog, Collie, Canine, Animal, Parade, Crowd, Person, People, Human

The sentencing follows public rallies of support for refugees across the UK

On the 19th July, Gorman admitted to racially-aggravated attempted murder, as well as to causing racially-aggravated alarm to another woman – thought to be the female cousin of Ali – in the hostel. He will be sentenced at the High Court in Edinburgh on the 17th August.

A fundraising page has been set up by charity Positive Action in Housing to help Mr Ali rebuild his life in Scotland after the attack.