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Man assaulted death fall student

A man has admitted assaulting a student who fell to his death from an Edinburgh bridge later the same evening.
Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard that Andrew Couser's death last November was not a result of the earlier incident.

The 21-year-old sports science student, from Donaghadee in County Down, fell 30ft from a bridge after a night out.

Liam Armstrong, 21, from Edinburgh, admitted assaulting him outside an all-night bakery two hours earlier. Sentence was deferred for reports.

Sheriff Gordon Liddle told Armstrong that a custodial sentence was uppermost in his mind.

'Drunken evening'

The court heard that Armstrong, a media studies student at Queen Margaret College, had been out celebrating his 21st birthday on the night in question.

Mr Couser, who was studying at Napier University, was part of a separate group which was celebrating a friend's 21st birthday.

Defence advocate Nial McCluskey said his client and his friends had been having a "very drunken evening".

Describing it as "student revels", he added that Armstrong was being "force-fed" alcohol.

Fiscal Adrian Fraser said Mr Couser and his friends had also been drinking heavily during the evening.

The two groups met outside the Oven Fresh bakery in Morrison Street at about 0300 BST, where an argument broke out and pies were thrown.

One of Armstrong's friends lost a tooth after being struck on the face, although it was not known whether Mr Couser or one of his friends had been responsible.

Armstrong was not present at the time, but one of his friends phoned him to tell him about the assault.

Keen bodybuilder

He returned to the bakery and ran toward Mr Couser, punching him repeatedly on the head, knocking him to the ground and kicking him "very forcibly" on the head.

Armstrong, a keen bodybuilder, then took part in an assault on two other men.

Mr McCluskey said his client had been "very worried and angry" when he found his friend lying on the ground "drenched in blood".

More than two hours after the assault, Mr Couser fell 30ft from a bridge over the Western Approach Road in the city centre.


Mr Fraser said it was a "sensitive and tragic" case - but that the evidence and a post-mortem examination had shown there was no link between the assault and Mr Couser's death.

Sheriff Liddle said that he accepted this was the case.

The dead man was described in court as "mild-mannered, friendly and out-going".

Armstrong admitted that "while acting with others" he assaulted Mr Couser by punching him repeatedly on the head, knocking him to the ground and kicking him on the head, and assaulted two other men


Morley Enterprises

Page Last Updated: 4 March, 2010

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