Man extradited from USA to stand trial over attack on police officer in Leeds town 43 years ago
West Yorkshire Police arranged for Rory McGrath to be flown back to Britain last year to answer a charge of actual body harm stemming from an incident in Garforth in March of 1980.
The officer was left with a broken nose, black eyes and chipped teeth after being attacked by a gang outside the Miners pub on Aberford Road. In the months that followed, one man admitted his part in the assault, and three were found guilty after a trial.
McGrath, who is now 64, failed to turn up for his court date and fled the country, Leeds Crown Court heard today.
Opening the prosecution’s case at today, Jemima Stephenson said that McGrath had just been released from police custody and had gone for a drink with friends to celebrate in The Crusader pub on Long Meadow Gate in Garforth on the night of March 28, 1980. After becoming rowdy, they were ejected.
A short time later, PC Ian Moore had been on foot patrol in the town centre when he witnessed a man being punched on the forecourt of a petrol station adjacent to the Miners pub.
Trying to arrest the man and radioing for help, PC Moore was then kicked from behind by another male and fell to the ground where he was repeatedly kicked to the head.
Giving evidence in court this afternoon, the retired officer, who was 19 at the time, said: “I was kicked from all sides. I probably blacked out for a few seconds. I came round just as they were running off.”
The men then tried to climb into a white car parked in the pub, chased by the officer who had managed to stumble to his feet.
He managed to grab hold of one man “with dark curly or permed hair” as he tried to get into the vehicle, who turned around and punched him. It was alleged that this man was McGrath.
The officer then fell to the floor, said he was “given another kicking” and was knocked unconscious. Meanwhile, an off-duty officer who was drinking in the pub, came out to provide assistance and then gave chase to two of the young men running away but eventually lost sight of them.
PC Moore spent a night in hospital and said he needed his nose re-setting. He said he later lost a tooth resulting from the attack.
Cross-examining the former officer, barrister Mark Fraser suggests that he mis-identified McGrath at the time, to which he replied that he identified him “truly and genuinely at the time”.
The court was also told that two days after the incident, McGrath gave an interview at the police station and the second officer who gave chase said he recognised him as one of the men he chased.
He told police at the time: “You will never prove I left the pub. You have got f*** all.”
McGrath has been held on remand since he touched down in the UK in July last year. The trial continues and is expected to last until the end of the week.