Sandwell teens accused of terrorising town's Muslims deny involvement

Five teenagers accused of terrorising a town's Muslim community have all denied any involvement in the attacks.

The five, all aged 15 and 16 and who cannot be named, are on trial at Sandwell Youth Court for varying racially-aggravated charges relating to four incidents in Cradley Heath and Old Hill in October.

In two of those incidents two elderly men were assaulted, and in another an eight-year-old boy was spat at and slapped.

In the fourth incident, a man's car was allegedly written off after being attacked while he was inside. In all cases, the victims were of Muslim appearance.

But four of the defendants yesterday told the court they were not involved in racially abusing any of the victims.

The first defendant, aged 15 and who denies one racially aggravated charge of intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress with abusive words or behaviour in relation to the attack on the eight-year-old, admitted being there for the incident but denied he saw it, or that he shouted any abuse.

A second defendant, also 15, accused of criminal damage in relation to the car, told the court that he was at home when the incident occurred, although some of the others claim he was present when it took place.

The third, aged 16 and who it is said was involved in all four incidents, denies ever using racist or bad language, although he does admit he kicked out at the car as he was 'in fear for his safety' as he believed the driver was aiming for them.

Again the fourth defendant, a 16-year-old who is accused of taking part in two of the incidents, denied any involvement and claimed he was a distance away from each.

The fifth defendant, 15, chose not to give any evidence, although he denies four charges relating to each of the incidents.

A sixth boy, aged 17, on Tuesday pleaded guilty to three racially-aggravated assaults, criminal damage and harassment with words. The case has been adjourned until next week.