Four Girl Gang Members Spared Jail After Mariam Moustafa Attack
20 June 2019, 07:31 | Updated: 20 June 2019, 07:33
Four members of a girl gang have been spared jail despite playing a part in a "sustained and horrific" bus stop attack on a frightened Egyptian student in Nottingham who later died.
Mariam Moustafa suffered a stroke which left her in a coma after being "pushed so hard" that she was slammed against a bus shelter on February 20 last year, and died almost a month later on March 14.
Despite admitting affray in connection with the street assault, two 18-year-old girls, who can now be named as Rochelle Dobbin and Netesha Lewis, and two 16-year-old girls were only handed referral orders by a District Judge at Nottingham Youth Court on Wednesday.
Although the teenagers were not sent to custody, a district judge described them as "aggressive" and should be "condemned" for their actions.
They were spared detention because the court should "avoid criminalising young people unnecessarily" and the teenagers could only be sent to custody as "a last resort".
Six girls were charged after the incident, and two women were sentenced on Friday for their "cowardly" behaviour in the assault.
At Nottingham Crown Court on Friday, Mariah Fraser, 20, was ordered to spend eight months in a young offenders' institution and Britania Hunter was given a 12-month community order and told to carry out 40 hours unpaid work after both admitted affray.
The youth court heard how Lewis was the "ring leader" in the altercation, while Dobbin and the others were either filming the incident or laughing while watching events unfold.
Lewis launched a violent attack on the student, punching her repeatedly and accusing her for being responsible for a social media account called "Black Rose".
Mariam was punched several times during an attack "fuelled by social media" near a bus stop in Parliament Street, Nottingham, at 8pm, while her friend Pablo Jawara tried to protect her.
The prosecution said the six girls were not charged with manslaughter as the attack could not be "legally linked" to the student's death.
Judge Gregory Dickinson QC had previously said the motivation behind the assault was an accusation that Mariam ran a social media account called "Black Rose" and an argument "about a boy".
Mariam's father, Mohamed Moustafa, said his family is no longer safe in the country after the "unfair" sentences passed on the defendants, and is considering a move back to Egypt.
The 51-year-old decided not to attend Wednesday's hearing as the final four attackers were spared custody.
Sentencing the four girls, District Judge Timothy Spruce said: "This, watching it, was a truly shocking attack which has quite understandably attracted a high media profile and public attention.
"The consequences for the family have been life-changing and catastrophic.
"The logical conclusion to draw is the stroke was brought on by the actions of those who attacked her."
Judge Spruce continued to reiterate the prosecution's assertion that the attack and Mariam's death could not be legally linked.
The judge continued: "The charge of murder or manslaughter, which it could easily have been, was not available to the prosecution.
"The atmosphere was clearly one of fear and intimidation. It is a particularly concerning aspect of this case that certain parts of this incident were recorded and put on social media.
"The clear aim was to film Mariam in a distressed and humiliated state."
Explaining why he had not passed a custodial sentence, Judge Spruce said a defendant must be sentenced in accordance with the age they were at the time of the offence, even if they had since become an adult.
He said: "The court should focus on rehabilitation wherever possible. Custody should always be a last resort for young people."
Addressing why they did not attend the hearing, the family of Mariam Moustafa said in a statement given to the Press Association: "We refused to attend the hearing because we believe that this case is a well played movie under the name of justice.
"We lost our daughter and we will never get her back, we came to the Court of Law to get justice for her and for everyone else to live safely in this land.
"However, the system failed to get justice for Mariam."
Lewis will be the subject of an "intense" referral order for 12 months, Dobbin for six months, and the two 16-year-old girls for nine months and six months.