Man Extradited to Scotland Amid Allegations He Poisoned a Fellow Student at St. Andrews

Alexander Hilton, 24, allegedly spiked a bottle of red wine and encouraged Robert Forbes to drink it

Photo: David Cheskin/PA

A Princeton, Massachusetts, man has been extradited to Scotland, where he’s charged with the assault and attempted murder of a fellow American while both were students at the prestigious University of St. Andrews.

Alexander Hilton, 24, allegedly poisoned Robert Forbes in 2011 by spiking a bottle of red wine with methanol – a chemical compound commonly found in antifreeze – and then encouraging Forbes to drink it before the university’s New Hall Ball, according to The Boston Globe.

St. Andrews is Scotland’s oldest university and also the institution where Prince William met a young co-ed named Kate Middleton.

Forbes, then 19, suffered severe nausea and headaches for days and started to lose his vision before finally going to the hospital, The Scotsman reported in 2011. He eventually returned home to the United States for treatment to restore his sight.

Meanwhile, Hilton returned to the U.S. in March 2011, less than two weeks after the alleged poisoning and just days after he was questioned by Scottish investigators.

He was arrested in February 2013 in Massachusetts under an extradition treaty the U.S. has with the United Kingdom, per the Globe. He stayed free on bond while lawyers for Hilton argued against his extradition in Massachusetts court. He was sent to the Donald W. Wyatt Detention Facility in Rhode Island last month after a judge ultimately approved the extradition.

Hilton was finally sent back to Scotland on Friday, per a statement released by U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts Carmen M. Ortiz.

Norman Zalkind, senior partner at Zalkind, Duncan and Bernstein LLP in Boston, represented Hilton for his extradition case in the U.S. and tells PEOPLE his client has “mental health issues.”

“He was suicidal when arrested for the first time and again when brought in on the extradition [charge],” Zalkind said. “He was let out on bail a long time, which is unusual, because he was so vulnerable mentally. They couldn’t take care of him in the prison system.”

Zalkind argued in court that extradition to Scotland would increase Hilton’s risk of suicide.

“He’s a young, very vulnerable person,” he said. “His mother has been quite sick with cancer and is still in treatment. He’s an only child.”

Hilton was charged at Dundee Sheriff Court in Scotland Friday with “assault to severe injury, permanent impairment and attempted murder,” the U.K.’s Crown Prosecution Service confirmed to PEOPLE. He entered no plea, has been granted bail and will be called to appear for further examination.

Zalkind said Hilton’s mother is with him in Scotland: “She’s part of the bail conditions,” he explained.

“He will plead innocent,” Zalkind added. “It’s for the courts to decide [if he’s innocent or not].”

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