Drunkenthugs jailed for tram station attack
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.