Axeman who sparked Leeds police manhunt admits robbery and driving offences

AN AXEMAN who caused a university campus to be put on lockdown has admitted robbery and serious driving offences.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 1:30 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th March 2018, 1:35 pm
David Riley caused the university campus at Headingley to be put on lockdown.
David Riley caused the university campus at Headingley to be put on lockdown.

Average speed cameras on M621 in Leeds: How they work and how to avoid a fineDavid Riley today pleaded guilty to the offences over the incident in which a cyclist was seriously injured during a collision with three other vehicles.

Leeds Beckett University Headingley campus was put in to lockdown on February 10 this year as a manhunt for Riley began and residents were warned to stay indoors.

The collision took place at the junction of Scott Hall Road and North Street at about 5.30pm.

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Riley fled the scene in a white van and was seen close to the Arndale Centre in Headingley a short time later.

He is believed to have used an axe to remove a secured bicycle after abandoning the van close by.

PEST FROM THE WEST: Snow warning issued for YorkshireThe bike was abandoned close to St Chad's Rise and Riley entered a nearby woodland

Riley, of Nowell Crescent, Harehills, pleaded guilty to causing serious injury by dangerous driving, robbery, dangerous driving, theft of a bicycle and failing to stop after an accident.

Stephen Welch, prosecuting, said the causing injury by dangerous driving charge relates to injuries suffered by a cyclist who was hit by a van.

The victim, a Spanish national, has returned to his home country to receive medical treatment.

The robbery charge relates to taking a Ford Transit van and tools.

The dangerous driving offence took place on Scott Hall Road and Otley Road.

Riley will be sentenced on April 3.

He was returned to custody until the next hearing and warned he faces a lengthy prison sentence.

Judge Penelope Belcher said: "This is a substantial sentence, deliberately using a vehicle, in effect, as a weapon."

Staff and students at the university were given the all-clear hours after the incident.

During an appeal for help to catch the suspect, Supt Lisa Atkinson, of Leeds District Police, said at the time: “No one has been seriously hurt and it appears the male has only used the axe as a means of stealing the van and the bicycle, but we would urge anyone who sees this male not to approach him and to contact police on 999, so we can locate him and detain him.”

Riley remained on the loose for three days before handing himself in at Elland Road police station.