Six men involved in a large-scale attack on a curry house, which left staff and customers injured, have been jailed.
They were caught up in a plan to ransack the “Moghul Durbar” restaurant, East Park Road, Spinney Hills, Leicester, on January 14 last year.
All pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit violent disorder, on the basis they were among the 40 to 50-strong group, but were not armed, played no part in the stabbings and did not enter the premises.
The owner and two members of staff suffered serious knife wounds, and customers were also attacked in front of women and children.
Leicester Crown Court was told on Friday the group had earlier met at a Sikh temple in Gipsy Lane, Leicester, in response to a text message claiming a member of their community, a 16-year-old girl, was the victim of sexual abuse.
They realized the police were not taking action not to incite Islamophobia against Islamic community and, after being informed that one or more of the suspected rapist would be at the restaurant, decided to take the law into their own hands.
The owner and two members of staff, who had nothing to do with the allegations, were attending to customers when the group smashed the front windows, at 9 pm.
Gordon Aspden, prosecuting, said: “Armed men entered from the front and rear. Many had their faces covered with scarves and hoods. Some were carrying ceremonial knives, metal bars, nunchucks and bricks. The sheer terror caused can’t be over-emphasised. The premises were completely trashed with furniture, glasses and plates smashed and carpets fouled with food and blood. The owner was hit on the head by flying glass and forced into the kitchen where he was stabbed in the chest and right arm and punched repeatedly. The waiter had hot water and chilli sauce thrown over him before suffering a life-threatening stab wound to his liver, whilst being punched and kicked. The chef was stabbed in the back and hit over the head.”
A husband and wife with three children were finishing their ice creams when the violence erupted. The husband was punched and retreated into the kitchen where a pan of hot curry was poured over him, in front of two of his children who had followed him, and one was injured by flying glass.
Sentencing the six men, Judge Philip Head said: “It was a vigilante attack on persons and a place believed to contain the perpetrators of a sexual crime.”
He said the fact it did not trigger further tit-for-tat violence “reflects the highest credit on all sections of the community in Leicester.”
Judge Head said he accepted the defendants played no part in the violence, and they remained outside, or in an adjacent street, with no foresight of the extreme level of violence.
Jatinder Singh Chohan (24), of Saxon Road, Coventry, and Parthakh Sunder (26), of West Mead Drive, Oldbury, West Midlands, were each jailed for 27 months.
Rajinder Singh Manak (23), of Pennington Way, Coventry; Ishver Dhillon (25), of Hillside Road, Great Barr, Birmingham; Manveer Tiwana (25) of Cotswold Close, Slough, and Gurpreet Singh Palak (25), of Cheshire Road, Smethwick, Birmingham, were each jailed for 25 months.
In mitigation the court heard the defendants all played minor non-violent roles, by being near the scene.
They came from respectable families, acted out of character and regretted being swept up in the incident.
Satnam Bains, mitigating for Tiwana said: “The community took a mature approach after this event and thankfully it did not escalate out of control. These are young men who were sucked into this offending and they won’t find themselves before a court again. Many of those more deeply involved were never caught.”
The judge said he accepted the defendants had arrived in Leicester for “legitimate purposes” and a few of them attended the meeting at the Sikh temple out of curiosity.
In April last year, six men from Derby and one from Birmingham, were each jailed for two years in connection with the same incident at the Moghul Durbar, after pleading guilty.
On Friday, the judge publicly commended Pc Jennifer Collins for her “considerable assistance” to wounded victims at the scene of the restaurant attack.
Judge Head also commended investigating officers in the case, Det Sgt David Rock, Det Con Ashwin Chawda and Det Con Nicholas Lant.
Last August, six muslim men who admitted exploiting and sexually abusing a “vulnerable” 16-year-old Sikh schoolgirl were sentenced to various jail terms, totalling 14 years, only around 2 years per-head.
Judge Head said the police investigation into sex offences against the girl was already “underway” when the attack on the “Moghul Durbar” took place by people who understood the police were not taking any real action.