Tuesday, 1 Dec 2020

German teen ‘beaten with bag of bricks’ after gang member did ‘Nazi salute’

A young German student suffered a life-changing brain injury after being beaten with ‘a bag of bricks’ during a gang attack, with one alleged assailant doing a Nazi salute shortly before, a court has heard.

Daniel Ezzedine, 18, was left fighting for life when he was hit in the head with heavy objects and then kicked during a violent clash between two groups in Canterbury, Kent last June.

Alleged attacker Luke Fogarolli, 18, has admitted violent disorder but denies wounding with intent, while another boy, 17, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has pleaded not guilty to causing wounding with intent and violent disorder. 

Two days before the tragic incident, Mr Ezzedine’s friends had a verbal spat with Fogarolli’s group outside McDonald’s which saw one boy, 15, allegedly barge into one of the German students.

Further conflict broke out when the two groups crossed paths 48 hours later, Canterbury Crown Court heard.

The 17-year-old defendant is said to have sent a Snapchat message saying ‘Beef in Canterbury city centre – who’s backing it then asap’.

Fogarolli and the 17-year appeared to pick up bricks – or ‘some other heavy object’ – and put them in a bag to use as a weapon while another defendant did a Nazi salute, Simon Taylor prosecuting said.

Mr Ezzedine, then aged 17, is said to have kicked out at one of the group, before he was pulled to the ground ‘in a half sitting position’.

Mr Taylor said: ‘It was at this stage the 17-year-old swung his bag up and over his shoulder and hit Daniel to the right side of the head.

‘Such was the force of the blow that Mr Ezzedine’s head hit his left shoulder – he then immediately fell to the floor and stopped moving.

‘Mr Fogarolli then ran from way over to the right of the group and dealt a full force kick to Mr Ezzedine’s head. The force of this blow was such as to cause his body to recoil.’

The court was shown CCTV footage of Mr Ezzedine trying to get to his feet after the blow knocked him to the floor.

He did not appear to move until Fogarolli kicked him, causing his body to flinch.

Mr Taylor added: ‘By the time these two defendants attacked him he was offering no threat whatsoever, but the 17-year-old struck him with a bag and Luke Fogarolli followed up with a kick.’

The group is said to have fled the scene ‘bragging and laughing’ after a passer-by stopped to help Mr Ezzedine.

Six suspects were allegedly heard ‘shouting, yelling, whooping’ and saying the word ‘brick’ outside a cycle shop after the attack.

One member then appeared to discard a weapon – believed to be stolen from a Poundland before the attack – into the river, the court heard.

Mr Ezzedine had to have part of the left side of his brain removed in an emergency operation after the violent assault. He is unlikely to make a full recovery.

Mr Taylor said: ‘Over a year after the attack he suffers significant neurological impairment and it is unlikely that he will make anything like a full recovery from the life-changing injuries he sustained. Due to his injuries, we will not be hearing from Daniel Ezzedine.’

Both suspects gave no comment interviews following their arrest by police.

They have since claimed they were acting in self-defence and deny charges of grievous bodily harm.

The trial of the two defendants continues. Eight other suspects are due to appear in court at a later date.

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