'I don't want your coronavirus in my country' - racist attack

Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court.

Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court. - Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

An attack on a Singaporean law student by a 15-year-old boy over coronavirus was “racially motivated”, magistrates have found.

The 24-year-old was left bloodied and bruised and required surgery on his face after he was assaulted by the teenager and his group of friends on Oxford Street on February 24 last year.

The north London teenager, who cannot be identified due to his age, was found guilty of racially aggravated grievous bodily harm (GBH) at Highbury Corner Youth Court on Monday.

He had previously admitted wounding or inflicting GBH but denied it was racially motivated, telling his trial in December he had not mentioned coronavirus and was not a racist.

But the court heard several people had witnessed the word “disease” or “coronavirus” from a few metres away.

Chair of the bench Lesley Ward said the attack had been “unprovoked and racially motivated”.

The victim, who had been studying in London for two years at the time of the attack, told the trial his nose “exploded” following the first punch.

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He said the teenage defendant told him: “I don’t want your coronavirus in my country.”

The youth was released on unconditional bail and will be sentenced at on January 27.

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