Teenager guilty of attacking Malaysian student Ashraf Rossli during riots in Barking
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 along a flyover in Barking, east London, when he was attacked. Mr Rossli’s 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 today, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm at Wood Green Crown Court today.
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.”
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Isagba, dressed in a dark jacket, stared straight ahead as the unanimous verdict was read out.
Judge Pawlak said his crimes merited a lengthy jail term and revoked his bail.
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“He is facing a long prison sentence,” he told the court. “There’s no reason I can see that he should remain on bail.”
Jurors were told that Mr Rossli 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. As he turned round to look, he was punched in the face.
The swing left his jaw broken in two places.
“I turned left to see who took it and felt an impact from the right side,” he said.
“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 17-year-old 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.
Dismissing the jury, Judge Pawlak hailed Mr Tsang and Ms Frutos Perez who helped prosecutors mount an effective case against the shaven-headed youth.
“The first thing I would like to say is that Mr Tsang and his girlfriend were extremely public-spirited in coming forward to help the police in their inquiries and therefore I would like that to be acknowledged in due course by way of a commendation and perhaps some financial reward,” he said.
But he added: “I can’t imagine for one moment that they, themselves, would be interested in a financial reward.”
The defendant was arrested four weeks after the attack on August 8.
At the time he told police: “I can swear on my mother’s life, everyone’s life and my family, I never touched him.”
He later changed his account.
The incident, which was captured on camera, drew widespread publicity last year.
It preceded a second crime in which items were taken from Mr Rossli’s rucksack - allegedly by individuals posing as good Samaritans.
Two men will stand trial in connection with this offence at a later date. Isagba was not accused of involvement.
In court, the teenager denied causing grievous bodily harm with intent, an alternative charge of inflicting GBH, and robbery.
But the eight men and three women of the jury were not convinced.
Their unanimous verdicts followed a trial in which the 6ft 1in and “firmly built” defendant confessed to stealing Mr Rossli’s bike, claiming he did so because he was “tired” after committing a string of crimes.
The youth, who admitted violent disorder and two counts of burglary after he broke into a betting shop and a food and wine store prior to the attack, said he had been egged on by a crowd of 100 onlookers when he stole the bike.
But he later admitted: “I felt very ashamed of myself. I don’t think it was right and feel very sorry for what I did.”
Under cross-examination, he expressed an interest in stealing other people’s property.
The judge ordered him 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”.