The Courier reports that a former student at St Andrews University is fighting an attempt to extradite him to Scotland after he was accused of the attempted murder of a fellow student at St Andrews.
Mr Alexander Hilton, 21, is currently fighting an attempt to extradite him to Scotland after he was accused of the attempted murder of a fellow American student at St Andrews by spiking the student’s bottle of red wine with anti-freeze. The incident – which occurred on 5 March 2011 – led to Mr Hilton being questioned by the police. Mr Hilton returned to America on 18 March 2011 and has not returned to Scotland since. He has apparently ceased his studies and is currently residing in the Hilton family home in Princeton, America. He has subsequently been charged in Scotland with attempted murder and a warrant for his arrest was issued in America. A US magistrate judge is currently considering the United Kingdom’s request for Mr Hilton’s extradition to Scotland to face the charge of attempted murder.
Authorities in the United Kingdom state that there is evidence that Mr Hilton did commit the crime in question. A scan of his computer after the incident on 5 March 2011 showed that Mr Hilton had conducted searches for information regarding combining methanol and alcohol. It was also said that there was a funnel in Mr Hilton’s room. Mr Hilton, however, claimed that this was for drinking games. The victim of the poisoning – Mr Robert Forbes – had his bottle of red wine spiked with methanol – a colourless, deadly liquid which is used as an ingredient in antifreeze. This caused Mr Forbes to go temporarily blind and he suffered sever nausea and headaches. It was said that if he had not received medical treatment then he would have died. The Crown Office declined to comment substantively on the situation but an Assistant US Attorney commented that this was a “serious case”.
Mr Hilton’s criminal defence lawyer, Mr Zalkind, denied that his client had done anything wrong and stated that the proposed extradition to Scotland would be fought on the grounds that United Kingdom law fails to offer the same protection to US citizens that the US justice system does. He also pleaded before the US magistrate that his client had sever mental health problems that had been exacerbated by his arrest and that he should therefore be released on bail prior to the extradition hearing.
Under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 a person is guilty of attempting to commit and offence if they undertake an act which is more than merely preparatory to commit the offence. The offence in question here is murder – the intentional killing of a reasonable creature in being under the Queen’s peace. Mr Hilton – if the allegations are true – appears to have potentially committed an act which is more than preparatory in the spiking and provision of the bottle of wine. However, these allegations will be tested in court (should Mr Hilton be extradited to the United Kingdom).