Bruce Smith, Leeds Today (UK), Jan. 13, 2006
A teacher and his pals were beaten by a gang of young thugs in the latest in a series of attacks along a Leeds bus route.
Chris Davies and three of his friends, including a woman, were assaulted by a gang of more than 20 teenage boys and girls who took over the top deck of the First Leeds No 3 Cottingley bus on Saturday night.
Seven weeks ago a man was forced to take other male passengers home. They then tied him to a chair and beat him. He was left locked-in until he was found the next day.
A man was subsequently cautioned by police.
On December 12 a man on the Cottingley bus was assaulted, followed off the bus and beaten unconscious in Meadow Lane, Holbeck.
Two men have been charged with offences concerning that incident.
Today Mr Davies, 26, and his pals, John Stevenson, 32, a customer service team leader, and teaching assistant, Nick Thorp, 26, claimed police failed to respond for an hour and 45 minutes. They also want to know what is being done to prevent further assaults and why there was no CCTV camera operating on the bus.
Police said the delay was not as long as was claimed and the bus company insists the driver was unaware of the assault until later.
The friends boarded the bus at 9pm at the Corn Exchange and went upstairs, where they were confonted by the gang of black and mixed race teenagers.
“There was an atmosphere straight away and there were teenagers — mostly aged 13 to 17 but a few aged about 19 — sitting everywhere occupying two seats each,” said Mr Davies.
“They immediately began making offensive remarks, including ‘Get off the bus you white trash’.
“We tried to play it down and remain cool. We said we were just going home and had no problem with them.
“Then we noticed one of them pull his hood up and his scarf over his face and things got more intimidating.
“Suddenly a girl of about 13 shouted something and punched one of our group — a woman in her 20s — in the face. Then there was uproar. Someone came from behind and tried to pull her shoulder bag over her head and was pulling her hair.
“My two male companions leapt to her aid, but they were forced down the deck to the front of the bus. I jumped up to try to help her and they punched and kicked me to the floor.
“They were stamping on me and beating me. It was like a whirlwind.
“Suddenly, the bus halted near the United Reformed Church on Dewsbury Road and they rushed off. One of them gave me a final a punch and kick and I went headlong down the stairs.
“The driver was about to drive away and we had to stand in the door way. We refused to get off and asked him to raise the alarm. He did not want to. We phoned the police and then he radioed his depot.
“We waited an hour but no police came and I ran to the station. My face looked like a punch bag. I was told someone was coming, but after 45 minutes I returned to my friends and we flagged down a police panda car and officers took our statements.
“I have taught in rough schools but I don’t know when I can next stand up in front of a class. I am taking painkillers four times a day.”
A spokesman for First Bus, said: “Safety on our buses is a very high priority. We were not aware of any history of assaults involving this bus route and will discuss this with the police.
“The driver was unaware of any assault, but did stay at the scene until the police arrived.”
A police spokeswoman said officers received the call at 9.16pm and attended within seven minutes, but were unable to trace the victims or any sign of a disturbance. Mr Davies had attended at Holbeck Police Station at 9.49pm and waited there. At 10.33pm he returned to the bus on Dewsbury Road to meet with the officers who were then able to take a statement.
The attack is under investigation. Police said they are not linking the incidents on the bus route.
Contact Holbeck Police on 0113 2414659 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with information.
(Posted on January 13, 2006)
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