Five charged in connection with Sunderland street demonstration

The 25-year-old's head injury after the disturbance in Hendon.
The 25-year-old's head injury after the disturbance in Hendon.

Two men have told how they were attacked after a demonstration over an alleged attack on a woman turned to violence.

Five men have been charged in connection with the demonstration which was in support of a woman who reported she was attacked in a house in Peel Street, Hendon, the previous weekend.

The 25-year-old student was left with bloodied clothes after the confrontation.

The 25-year-old student was left with bloodied clothes after the confrontation.

The man and his nephew, both Asian, claim they were caught up in the disturbance.

The 39-year-old man says he was hit on the forehead with a hammer, knocked unconscious and left with a wound which needed 12 stitches, broken teeth and bruises.

His 25-year-old nephew was left with bruising to his forehead and a cut to the back of his head during the confrontation, which happened in a back yard.

The elder man told how he left his home after hearing glass being smashed outside and found £900 worth of damage caused to his car.

There have clearly been some misconceptions and we want to sit around a table and talk.

Monir Ahmed

Five people were arrested during the event - said to have been organised by Sunderland Defence League and advertised through its Facebook page.

The Echo made several efforts to contact members, but they could not be reached for comment.

Six men have been arrested in connection with the alleged assault on the woman and have been bailed pending further inquiries.

Residents criticised the policing of Saturday’s demonstration.

The 39-year-old after the disturbance which left him with a head wound and broken teeth.

The 39-year-old after the disturbance which left him with a head wound and broken teeth.

Northumbria Police say more people than expected turned out to the gathering and extra resources were called in.

Members of the community - white and Asian - say the rally was “hijacked” and offensive banners were displayed.

The 39-year-old, who has asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, said: “It was an absolute frenzy and there was a lot of shouting and I grabbed a garden fork and held it out to try not to get hit.”

His nephew, an international student studying a Phd in business, added: “I know British society, I believe in it, but my experience of what happened her has left me distressed.”

A gash to the 25-year-old man's head.

A gash to the 25-year-old man's head.

An ex-police officer who lives in the area says he was also threatened.

The 53-year-old, who is white, said some were carryignracially offensive placards,

He added: “One of them squared up to me until the police appeared. There are obvious affects on my neighbours. We cannot stand back and let this happen.”

Monir Ahmed, a community co-ordinator based at Sunderland International Bangladesh Centre, said: “I have concerns about the policing. I think their reaction was appalling.

“We are in support of this woman and her family, but this protest was hijacked. There have clearly been some misconceptions and we want to sit around a table and talk.”

The following men have been charged and are due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court at a date to be confirmed in connection with Saturday’s incident: Philip Hackers, 38, of Darcy Court, charged with affray and possessing a controlled drug; Gary Hutchinson, of Gilbert Court, charged with affray; Sean Ruffell, 25, of Athol Road, charged with affray and of possessing an offensive weapon; Daren Kerr, 25, of Gartland Road charged with affray and Kevin Sayers, 30, of Egerton Street has been charged with disorderly conduct.

Monir Ahmed.

Monir Ahmed.

Chief Inspector Paul Milner said: “We’re aware of the concerns that have been raised and are working closely with local residents to address these.

“On Wednesday afternoon police met with the local community to discuss their concerns and explain the response to recent incidents.

“The update provided was welcomed by the local community. Victims will be provided with an update regarding the investigation as is standard practice in line with the victims code of practice.

“Making sure our communities are reassured and feel safe is incredibly important to us and I would ask anyone who is concerned for whatever reason to speak to their local neighbourhood team and we will do all we can to help.

“I would also like to say, if anyone was present on Saturday and witnessed any of the events then please get in contact with us.”

Police have appealed for anyone who witnessed Saturday’s demonstration can contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 329 100916 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.