There will be 13 people on trial in October for the brutal assault on a teenaged asylum seeker at Shrublands.
The 13 were all charged at a hearing at Croydon Crown Court on Tuesday. All the accused pleaded not guilty and with one exception they were all released on conditional bail until their trials. Another hearing will determine how to split up the various cases, since the Crown Prosecution Service considers that there are too many accused to be dealt with in one case.
On March 31, while waiting for a bus home, 17-year-old Rekar Ahmed suffered a fractured eye socket, a fractured spine, severe bruising and a bleed on the brain after the attack which took place near The Goat pub in Shirley. Ahmed was released from hospital a week after the attack, the effects of which were so severe that he was unable to recognise his brother when he visited.
Police said the Kurdish-Iranian refugee was punched, kicked and stamped on, with up to 30 people seen to be been involved in the incident.
All were charged with violent disorder, while two, as indicated below, were also charged with grievous bodily harm.
Daryl Davies, 20, of Laurel Crescent
Danyelle Davies 24, of Laurel Crescent
Barry Potts, 20, of Fir Tree Gardens
George Walder, 20, of Myrtle Road, is charged with violent disorder and grievous bodily harm
Jack Walder, 24, of Myrtle Road
Liam Naylor, 19, of Ferris Avenue
Ben Harman, 20, of Akabusi Close
A 15-year-old boy
A 17-year-old boy, from Croydon, is charged with violent disorder and grievous bodily harm
Ellie Leite, 19, of Shrublands Avenue
James Neves, 22, no fixed address
A 17-year-old girl
Kyran Evans, 23, of Shrublands Avenue
George Walder has been remanded in custody awaiting trial.
Violent disorder is an offence involving three or more people and carries a maximum of five years’ imprisonment for those over 18.
Grievous bodily harm can mean a five-year sentence for the defendant if found guilty.
The first trial is scheduled to start on October 4.
Where this trial is likely to focus additional attention on the judge is that the police, when initially investigating the attack, referred to it as a hate crime. The 1998 Crime and Disorder Act created a new level of assault: racially or religiously aggravated wounding or grievous bodily harm. If found guilty, the sentencing judge will decide what he or she would have imposed if there were no racial element and then increase that penalty if they are persuaded that there was a racist element to the assault.
One of those charged, Leite, had worked as a barmaid at The Goat pub. The pub shut soon after the assault and has been closed since.
The pub had become regarded as a local trouble spot, with regular visits from the police and its activities reviewed by the council’s licensing committee last year, when the pub supervisor was removed from his position.
Its future under the existing management may be open to question.
“Given the distressing nature of the incident involving Rekar Ahmed we have voluntarily decided to close the pub on a temporary basis,” was the message posted on social media and on a sheet of paper stuck to a window of the pub.
“We will reopen again when it is appropriate to do so. Many thanks in advance for your understanding. In the meantime our thoughts are with Rekar as he recovers.”
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