Judge says 'streets of Leeds are not safe at the moment' after sickening late-night mass brawl at McDonald's

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A judge said the streets of Leeds were “not safe at the moment” after a “sickening” full-scale brawl broke out at a city-centre McDonald’s restaurant.

Judge Simon Batiste made the comments after the two instigators of the fight, which left a man unconscious, appeared at Leeds Crown Court this week.

The scrap at the fast-food restaurant on Albion Street in the early hours of December 2, 2021, was caught on CCTV and lasted around half-an-hour. With flurries of punches, kicks and stamps both inside the restaurant and on the street outside, it required four security staff to help bring it under control.

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After one defence barrister suggested such fights have “become the norm” in the city, Judge Batiste interrupted and said: “The streets of Leeds are frankly not safe at the moment. That is why the message needs to be sent out.

“The incident is caught almost entirely on CCTV and I have watched the 30 minutes of footage. It was a sickening piece of violence late at night in Leeds city centre. It’s right to say that this sort of violence is all too common.”

Ethan Martin and Tiago Ramos, who were both students and are now 22-year-old, were the instigators and both admitted a charge of affray during their sentencing hearing this week.

Prosecutor Benjamin Bell said the incident was triggered by Ramos punching a man waiting in the self-service area shortly before 3am. Martin then joined in with multiple punches being thrown at various people.

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Having been ejected, they got back into the restaurant via another door and continued fighting before being removed again. An innocent woman was knocked over and food was knocked out of the hands of another bystander. The fighting then spilled out onto the street with punches, kicks and stamps being meted out.

A friend of the two defendants was then kicked unconscious by the man they had first attacked.

Ramos, of Blue Bird Way, Eastbourne, East Sussex and Martin, of Granby Terrace, Headingley, were both later arrested. During his interview, Ramos gave a prepared statement in which he said they had been approached first by a male making threats of violence.

Neither defendant has any previous convictions or have been in trouble since. For Martin, Harry Crowson said he was in his final year of a business degree at Leeds Beckett University.

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The violent mass brawl erupted inside McDonald's and spilled out onto the street. (pic by Google Maps)The violent mass brawl erupted inside McDonald's and spilled out onto the street. (pic by Google Maps)
The violent mass brawl erupted inside McDonald's and spilled out onto the street. (pic by Google Maps) | Google Maps

He said: “Everything is teed up for a prosperous and happy life. It’s obvious he has been able to stay out of trouble since this appalling incident.”

For Ramos, Emma Handley said he has since finished his degree and is now working. She added: “He has not simply buried his head, he has got employment and is hoping that he can become an apprentice.”

Judge Batiste told the defendants: “You are both the instigators of the violence that took place. One of your friends received very significant injuries. It’s obvious that if you had walked away he would not have been injured.

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“But you have grown up since then and I’m left with a very difficult sentencing exercise. People who use violence in the street, kicking people on the floor, almost invariably go to prison. On the other hand you are two young men who have made enormous progress since.”

Judge Batiste criticised the length of time it had taken to reach court - more than two years after the brawl occurred - but rather than lock them up, he gave them each 14 months’ jail, suspended for two years, and the maximum amount of unpaid work hours he could impose - 300 hours each.

He added: “Many people will say I’m taking the wrong course of action, but it’s the delay and only the delay that causes me to take the course that I do. You are remarkably fortunate today. Do not come back before this court.”

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