‘Ashamed’ teenager denies attacking student in riots

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A teenager who denies smashing a Malaysian student’s jaw in the London riots said he was ashamed of the person who did it.

Ashraf Rossli, 20, had been in Britain for just a month when he was attacked and his bicycle stolen in Barking, east London, last August.

As looting and rioting swept through England, Mr Rossli was cycling to look after a scared female friend when he encountered a mob.

He managed to move through the crowd but was hit in the face and left on the floor in a pool of blood. Seconds later his bicycle was stolen.

Yesterday a 17-year-old boy who admits stealing the bike, told Wood Green Crown Court: “I felt ashamed of the person who did assault Mr Rossli. “I felt very disgusted with what happened and I feel very sorry for him.”

The defendant admits stealing the bicycle because he was “tired” but insisted a witness was mistaken in saying the person who punched Mr Rossli also stole the bike.

The defendant is too young to be named but has admitted that before stealing the bike he committed violent disorder and two counts of burglary by breaking into a betting shop and a store.

Asked by his barrister, Robert Shaw, how he felt about himself, he answered: “When I watched the footage in interview I was very, very ashamed of myself and panicked and was very worried.

“I didn’t mean to take the bike that was on the floor and not aware of anyone who was there being injured. I felt very ashamed of myself. I don’t think it was right and feel very sorry for what I did.”

The defendant, who the jury heard is 6ft 1in tall and “firmly built”, denies causing grievous bodily harm with intent, inflicting GBH and robbery.

He denies demanding the bike from Mr Rossli, who has two metal plates in his jaw, before allegedly throwing a single punch.

He said he was drunk on the day and only took Mr Rossli’s bicycle because he was “tired” and a crowd of 100 onlookers screamed at him to do so.

CCTV footage was played to the jury of three women and eight men in which only a few people were present as the victim sat bloodied on the floor. Christopher Hehir, prosecuting, said: “It’s just you and three others.”

The case continues.