UPDATE: 10 Attacks, 14 Arrests
The University says it considering walking people home from campus after an “unprecedented” level of brutal attacks on students this week.
In the latest wave of incidents, at least 10 young people were beaten up and two students were left hospitalised after a gang of masked muggers ran riot on Wednesday night.
The news comes after Leeds Student’s coverage of 16 other attacks on young people over one weekend by a similar gang that had been roaming the Woodhouse area.
In the latest incidents, one first-year student told how he was punched in the back of the head until he hit the ground. He said the gang stamped on his jaw repeatedly outside his halls of residence because, the gang told him, he “hadn’t runaway quickly enough.”
The student, who requested anonymity in fear he’d be attacked again, told how he walked out of the gates of Montague Burton Halls of residence to go and watch a football match with his friends when “between fifteen to twenty masked youths encircled” him.
He said: “The leader of the group then started asking for my phone and asked me why I hadn’t run away and whether I was trying to stand up to them, but before I could say anything I was punched in the head and they stamped on my jaw multiple times.
“They took my University keys and my University fob but the only reason they stopped was because a car drove past and spooked them.”
“They then ran onto Leodis residence where I believed they carried on.”
Victims of the attacks say what is particularly scary about the incidents is that the gang seem to use violence even before they take any of their possessions.
One lucky Leeds University Student who managed to runaway from the gang when they chased him said: “it’s madness, I was with eight other decent-sized lads, and it was early in the evening when people were still walking round and it was still light, they didn’t care though.”
The father of one student that had been attacked said: “I’m here to take my son home to recover, and if I’m quite honest I’m not sure I want him coming back to Leeds. We’d prefer to have him safe then here where he is under attack – it’s clear the area around Montague Burton is very dangerous. I’ll be meeting the University to seek reassurances and if they don’t have the right answers for me then he wont be coming back.”
An email has been sent to all students informing them that there was going to be a new wave of dog patrols around halls of residences, a new free bus from the Union to Montague Burton, Leodis and St. Marks and the possibility of chaperoned walks home.
Local MP Greg Mulholland, who had written to the police a couple of weeks ago over the attacks, demanded “urgent talks” between the University, the police and local councilors in light of the new attacks.
UPDATE: Police have now made 14 arrests in connecting to the attacks. All males aged between 14 and 19. All have been released on bail