Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Teenager faces jail for riot attack

Ashraf Rossli had been in Britain for just a month when he was attacked during the London riots

A teenager is facing jail for attacking a Malaysian student in an "exceptional" act of violence during the summer riots.

Ashraf Rossli, 20, had been in Britain for just a month when he was set upon as looting swept the country in August. The accountancy student had been cycling to help a scared female friend when his jaw was broken in two places as he was punched in the face.

Beau Isagba, 17, whose identity can be revealed for the first time, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm at Wood Green Crown Court.

Lifting an order which banned publication of Isagba's name, Judge Witold Pawlak said: "I agree that this is a case in which there is a legitimate public interest in knowing the outcome off the proceedings and the identity of the defendant ... This was an exceptional case."

He added that his crimes merited a lengthy jail term and revoked Isagba bail. He told the court: "He is facing a long prison sentence. There's no reason I can see that he should remain on bail."

At the time of the attack Mr Rossli was cycling along a flyover in Barking, east London next to Sheikh Azher. Jurors were told that he managed to manoeuvre through one group of hoodie-wearing troublemakers who lunged at his bike and rucksack, only to be attacked by an individual in a second group.

Recalling the moment, he said he felt a hand reach into his jacket pocket to take his mobile. He said: "I turned left to see who took it and felt an impact from the right side. The impact was hard. I don't know how it happened. I fell to the ground. Blood was coming out of my mouth."

The student did not see Isagba when he launched the assault. After punching the victim, the teenager - who is weeks away from his 18th birthday - was seen riding off on the bike. One witness, Weng Tsang, watched events unfold as his girlfriend Diana Frutos Perez recorded the scene on her mobile phone.

"Weng Tsang clearly heard the youth shout 'Give me the bike' as he delivered the punch, and he also heard this male and his companions laughing," Christopher Hehir, prosecuting, told the court. Mr Rossli, who now has two metal plates in his jaw, was eventually helped by members of the public and treated in hospital. His friend escaped uninjured and managed to cycle home.

The judge ordered Isagba to return for sentencing at the same court on March 9 - a day after he is due to turn 18. Requesting pre-sentence reports, he thanked the jury and commended police for the "obvious care with which they investigated and prepared the case".

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