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Pizza shop owner allegedly assaulted after ex-colleague claims he got her the sack

Pizza shop owner allegedly assaulted after ex-colleague claims he got her the sack

Categories: Latest News

Monday May 09 2016

The Northern Echo reports on the trial of a man and a woman accused of violent assault and racial abuse of a pizza shop owner in Ferryhill, County Durham.

The trial at Teesside Crown Court this week relates to an incident involving victim Muhammad Saeed Ahkter on 16 October 2015.

David Lowes and his partner, Joanne Wigham, are standing trial on charges of racially aggravated assault and criminal damage, and affray respectively.

Lowes denied the charge of racial abuse but admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm and criminal damage. Wigham, who has declined to give evidence, denied one charge of affray. The trial judge has already directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts on the charges of racially aggravated assault and assault occasioning actual bodily that she faced.

Lowes’ partner Joanne Wigham, who blamed Mr Akhter for her getting the sack from Siciliano’s takeway is alleged to have herded the victim around his car “helping him [Lowes] to thump him.” Wigham is also alleged to have told Mr Akhter “he would be killed if he came back to Ferryhill.”

Lowes is alleged to have broken the window of Mr Akhter’s car before repeatedly punching him in the face. The court was told that when challenged by the passer-by over the assault Lowes told the independent witness to “F*** off.” Wigham was also said to have shouted: “He got us sacked.”

Mr Akhter suffered two black eyes in the attack.

Lowes denying the racial abuse told the court, “not at any point did I use any racist language.”

Lowes claimed that Mr Akhter had made rude gestures towards him and his partner and that he had thrown the punches after the victim put “his hands up like a boxer” and tried to scramble out of the car with “a nasty look on his face.”

Lowes told the court, “I did not want to seem like a pussy. He provoked us. That is why I did it. He was laughing at us.”

The trial continues.


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