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01 April 2009

Gang terror attack on Blessed Trinity pupils - dad-to-be jailed

ONE of a gang who terrorised a group of schoolchilden has paid the price with a two-and-a-half-year jail term.

Father-to-be Shazad Razaq (19) was involved in a melee in which two pupils from Blessed Trinity RC College were attacked and another robbed. The robbery victim's phone was snatched and his dinner money taken in the early morning confrontations, Burnley Crown Court heard.

The court was told the 14-year-old was left scared, shaking and almost in tears after being threatened he would be stabbed.

The defendant, of Thurston Street, Burnley, admitted two counts of common assault and one of robbery. Sentencing, Recorder Suzanne Goddard QC slammed his behaviour last March and added: "It's clear to me you set out that day to engage yourself in trouble."

Rachel Woods (prosecuting) said the offences took place between 8-15 a.m. and 9 a.m. when the victims, in their uniforms, had trouble with the gang on their way to school.

A 16-year-old had been with his friends when he was stopped by a group abusing him. The defendant got out of a car, approached him and the teenager tried to walk off. The defendant then threw a punch, hit him twice, the victim stumbled and was hit again.

The robbery victim became aware of the gang running towards him and was told to run by his friends. He tried to get away but was caught by the gang, told to go down a ginnel and his phone was taken. The gang demanded money and the victim handed over his £2 dinner money. He told his assailants he did not want any trouble and ran to school.

The third victim, who was 16, was punched to the head.

The defendant was arrested in April and had the 14 year-old's mobile phone on him. He claimed he had nothing to do with the robbery but said he had been drinking that morning. He had 23 previous convictions.

Mr Mark Stuart (defending) said the offences were a very unpleasant series of incidents. When he was arrested Razaq not only admitted his part, but was prepared to name others. They were not picked out on identity parades.

The defendant had had a decent upbringing but started drinking when he left home. He mixed with an anti-social peer group and was sent to Pakistan to sort himself out, but it had not worked. He was now living with his girlfriend and her mother who would not tolerate misbehaviour.

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