Lawyer's anger after Muslim schoolgirl is 'throttled with her own hijab' on Sheffield bus
A lawyer representing two schoolgirls who were the victims of an ‘unprovoked and sustained attack’ on a bus in Sheffield has called for an independent inquiry after a suspect was let off with a police caution.
Redana Al-Hadi said she was travelling home with her sister and a group of friends from Silverdale School when she was throttled with her own hijab.
Redana told how she suffered a fractured cheekbone and a bloody eye, while her sister sustained bruising to the inside of her leg.
Now, Arshaid Bashir, who is representing the sisters on behalf of Adam Law Solicitors, has written a letter expressing a number of concerns to Stephen Watson, the Chief Constable of South Yorkshire Police.
Mr Bashir said: “Our clients, aged 14 and 13 years respectively, were subjected to a sustained assault resulting in each of them suffering injuries. This was an unprovoked and sustained attack on two innocent young children in the vicinity of a busy public area in the presence of other children.
“In the particular circumstances the incident has occasioned profound and potentially lasting damage to our clients and caused concern in the wider community.
“Accordingly, it is difficult to understand how and why it was considered appropriate by the police to caution one of the assailants when the CCTV/video recordings of the incident constituted graphic and compelling evidence of the gravity of the incident.
“The police failed to make reasonable enquiries by taking statements from the victims before deciding upon a disposal by way of a caution.
“It is our view that the decision was taken without proper consideration of all the facts in this case and public policy pertaining to hate crimes.
“We demand a full and independent inquiry into the decision-making process leading to the offer of a caution together with a reversal of the evidently flawed decision to caution the particular assailant.”
A spokesperson for South Yorkshire Police said enquiries into the incident were ongoing.
The spokesperson added: “The investigation is also currently undergoing a full review. This will include revisiting and speaking to witnesses.
“Officers remain in contact with the victim and her family and are keeping them updated.
“A 40-year-old woman, arrested at the scene, has been given a caution for assault, while a 44-year-old man remains on police bail as enquiries continue.
“Anyone with information, or who holds footage of the incident, is asked to call 101 or email [email protected], quoting incident number 601 of December 4.”
Redana, from Upperthorpe, was on a single decker bus bound for Ecclesfield when the attack happened shortly after 4.30pm on Wednesday, December 4.
Mobile phone footage was shared online and appears to show a woman embroiled in a row with the sisters and their friends before the argument spills out of the bus on to Ecclesall Road.
The woman can be seen on top of Redana as they are both on the ground.
Redana said the row initially started after a man on the bus began to mock the group’s accents and because the girls were wearing a hijab.