Drunk­en­thugs jailed for tram sta­tion at­tack

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY JC RE­PORTER

TWO TEENAGE thugs who at­tacked a group of Ortho­dox Jews — leav­ing a 17-year-old boy fight­ing for his life in hos­pi­tal — have been jailed.

Joseph Kelly and Zach Birch, both 17, set upon the three men and a teenager af­ter shout­ing, “Are you go­ing to make a lot of money?”, which was per­ceived to beanan­tisemitic­slur,Manch­esterYouth Court heard.

The as­sault oc­curred last month at Bowker Vale tram sta­tion in Crump­sall, Manch­ester, where Kelly and Birch, who were drunk, en­coun­tered Moshe Fuerst, 17, Yis­rael Aaron, Yechezkel Bas­souss, both 18, and 20-year-old Raziel Pol­loway.

Kelly and Birch were cap­tured on CCTV stand­ing on one side of the tracks goad­ing the group on the other side, who at­tempted to ig­nore them.

Raziel Pol­loway re­peat­edly in­sisted that he and his friends “didn’t want a fight”, but Kelly crossed the tram tracks and be­gan as­sault­ing one of the men un­til a fight en­sued, with Birch join­ing in. As their vic­tims tried to flee, Kelly gave chase and caught up with Moshe, punch­ing him to the ground and kick­ing him in the head, leav­ing him un­con­scious.

Kelly and Birch then went back to the sta­tion and boarded a tram where they were cap­tured on CCTV drunk­enly laugh­ing.

A CT scan later re­vealed that Moshe had suf­fered a bleed on the brain re­quir­ing emer­gency surgery. He re­mained in a coma for four days at Sal­ford Royal Hos­pi­tal. He has now been forced to quit his part-time job in a take­away due to per­sis­tent Vic­tim Moshe Fuerst was left need­ing emer­gency surgery headaches and was left with a five-inch scar across his head, the court heard.

In a state­ment read to the court, he said: “The fact I can’t work now up­sets me… I can’t play on my games con­sole now be­cause I get bad headaches. I ex­pe­ri­ence dizzi­ness and it takes me much longer to get up in the morn­ings. I don’t want to be left alone when out­side.

“I feel dis­gust to­wards the peo­ple that at­tacked me.”

Kelly, a stu­dent of White­field, Manch­ester, was jailed for 18 months af­ter ad­mit­ting GBH with in­tent, as­sault oc­ca­sioningac­tu­al­bod­i­ly­har­mandtwo counts of as­sault by beat­ing.

Pain­ter and dec­o­ra­tor Birch, of Prest­wich, Manch­ester, was sen­tenced to 12 months af­ter plead­ing guilty to as­sault oc­ca­sioningac­tu­al­bod­i­ly­har­mandtwo counts of as­sault by beat­ing.

Kelly was also or­dered to pay Moshe £1,000 in com­pen­sa­tion, and sums to the other vic­tims.

The at­tack was ini­tially treated by po­lice as a hate crime but the racially ag­gra­vated el­e­ment was dropped af­ter pros­e­cu­tors ruled they did not have enough ev­i­dence. Raziel had said one of the at­tack­ers had spat to­wards his kip­pah af­ter it was knocked from his head.

Sen­tenc­ing, Dis­trict Judge James Prowse said he did not think it was a hate crime. “There were re­marks that were made that were ob­jec­tion­able and stereo­typ­ing but I don’t be­lieve the lads were at­tacked­be­cause they were Jewish. They were sim­ply in the wrong place at the wrong time,” he said.

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