A group of drunk teenagers launched a violent, unprovoked attack on a taxi rank after believing they left their phone – they threw bottles, bricks and spat at the workers. Summer Downie and Wiktor Ostrowski, both 18, turned up at the office in Chorlton both claiming they had tried to ring in.
At around 00.50am on April 17 last year, they turned up at the Goodwins Olympic taxi office, and were told by the taxi dispatcher that the phone lines had been down. The teenagers said they ‘did not care’ and wanted their phone back.
Manchester Crown Court heard that both pushed into the office and came towards the dispatcher and pushed him. He was hit to the face and pushed them both back in an attempt to protect himself.
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“He then tried to push both defendant’s out of the office, however they continued to slap and punch him,” Eleanor Gleeson, prosecuting, told the court. “When the two taxi operators managed to push the defendants outside of the office onto the front, Miss Downie and Mr Ostrowski started kicking the door.”
Ostrowski tried to reach into the office through the hatch and pull the computer monitor out, but the dispatcher grabbed it off him and he seemed to ‘back off’. Another male, Ethan Quinn, then arrived. He tried to pull Ostrowski away and then started throwing punches.
Quinn was sentenced to a 12 month community order and 200 hours unpaid work, and was ordered to pay £200 after pleading to an offense of affray in December last year, the prosecutor said.
After Quinn’s arrival, around ten people appeared, and the group of young males and females started attacking the shopkeepers who owned the shops across the road and who tried to push them back. One of the girls threw a glass bottle at a shopkeeper.
Another taxi operator called the police as the group continued the violent melee outside. During this, one of the males came up to the hatch and started spitting at the window.
They could hear things hitting the window that sounded like ‘pebbles or bottles’. They then saw Downie throw a brick which smashed the window. A minute later another brick came through.
“At this point the operator was fearful that the group may come through the window. He shut the door and thought about hiding upstairs. The crowd continued to push and shove each other outside,” Ms Gleeson added.
When the police arrived, the group started running away, though Ostrowski remained and said to one officer: “Handcuff me officer, please arrest me.” They replied: “What am I doing that for?” And he said: “You’re obviously here for me coz I’m involved.”
Downie attempted to run twice, but was arrested and said: “I threw the bottle, yeah I bricked the window. I did fight some guy on the floor. I did put a brick through the window. I know I did wrong that’s why I ran.”
In a police interview, Ostrowski admitted his involvement, and said he had been drinking and lost his phone and card. He believed he had lost it in a taxi. He initially stated he didn’t know who caused the ‘big disturbance’ but after viewing the CCTV, he said it was clearly him that initiated it.
Downie said she was with her friend and they were going to meet others for a drink. She said she became aware that Ostrowski was fighting with the ‘taxi men’ then she ran over and began fighting with them. She said she threw four bricks through two windows.
Two double glazed windows were smashed during the fracas, as was the office wall. In total, it cost approximately £800 to repair and replace.
Downie was said to have no previous convictions, and Ostrowski was said to have one previous conviction for possession of a bladed article when he was a youth.
Mitigating for Downie, barrister Brett Wilson said she was ‘clearly remorseful for her actions’. He said she has managed to ‘abstain’ from alcohol since the incident and is now making efforts to move in the right direction.
For Ostrowksi, barrister Thomas Worsfold said his client accepted responsibility for the outset and described his own behavior as ‘stupid’. “He is moved to improve his future from him and leave behind drunken mistakes,” he added.
Sentencing them both, Judge Rachel Smith said: “These were serious offenses resulting in the appalling outbreak of unprovoked violence directed towards people who were doing nothing more than working where they were entitled to feel safe.
“This was committed against people working in public facing jobs, who work antisocial hours and deal with individuals night and day when violence can often be meted out in their general direction.”
The judge felt she could not send them both to custody due to the prison environment not being adaptable for therapeutic help or supervision, and said a suspended sentence would only allow the court to supervise them for a maximum of two years.
Both Downie, of Parrswood Road, Withington, and Ostrowski, of Horton Road, Fallowfield, were handed a 30 month community order (two-and-a-half years), 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and 200 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to affray. They must also both pay £200 compensation.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.