Syrian refugee attack: 16-year-old boy charged over assault on schoolboy in Huddersfield

Suspect, 16, to appear at Leeds Youth Court 

Lizzie Dearden,Harry Cockburn
Wednesday 28 November 2018 12:31
Almondbury Community School as 16-year-old boy charged with assault over attack on 15-year-old Syrian refugee at school

A teenager is to be charged over an attack on a Syrian refugee at a school in Huddersfield.

Footage of the incident, which has been widely shared on social media, showed the 15-year-old boy being dragged to the floor by his neck before having water forced in his mouth.

West Yorkshire Police said a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been interviewed by officers.

"He has been reported for summons, for an offence of assault," a spokesperson added. "He will appear at youth court in due course.

“The incident occurred on 25 October at Almondbury Community School and has been subject to thorough investigation since it was reported to us the day after. The victim and his family are receiving ongoing support from police and other agencies.”

The Independent understands that the boy will appear at Leeds Youth Court but a date has not yet been set.

Police appealed to members of the public not to share footage of the alleged assault on social media as it could prejudice criminal proceedings.

They said an unconnected assault on the same victim on 7 October, where his wrist was reportedly broken, was fully investigated at the time.

Three boys were interviewed by police but they took action and the matter was referred to the school.

The latest incident has provoked an outpouring of anger and sympathy for the Syrian boy and his relatives, with well-wishers so far donating more than £50,000 for the family on a crowdfunding page.

Barry Sheerman, the Labour MP for Huddersfield, said he had been supporting the family and added: "I understand from council that the school have taken strong action. Will be following up to ensure all available support is being given."

A spokesperson for Kirklees Council said: "Neither us nor the school condone violence in any form and behaviour like this will not be tolerated."

In a letter sent to parents on Wednesday, Almondbury Community School headteacher Trevor Bowen said the situation was "being taken extremely seriously".

”The safety and welfare of students is our number one priority," he added. “We must allow the legal process to take its course, but I want to be absolutely clear that we do not tolerate unacceptable behaviour of any sort in our school.

“I can also assure you that we are working very hard to ensure it is 'business as usual' across the school and that there is no disruption to the children's education. The wellbeing of students is of paramount importance to us and a high level of support is available to anyone who may need it.”