Cyclist ‘sad’ for gang locked up after pushing him in river in Leeds

Julian Walls with his bike. Below, Michael Hardman and a CCTV image issued after the incident
Julian Walls with his bike. Below, Michael Hardman and a CCTV image issued after the incident
0
Have your say

A CYCLIst says the young robbers who pushed him into the River Aire have “thrown away” their lives after they were locked up for a total of more than 10 years.

Julian Walls was riding home from work in Leeds last July when he was attacked and had his bike stolen.

Michael Hardman, jailed for 37 months for robbing cyclist Julian Walls

Michael Hardman, jailed for 37 months for robbing cyclist Julian Walls

A public appeal led to the gang – three aged 15, who can’t be named because of their age, and 20-year-old Michael Hardman – being caught and charged with robbery.

Two of the 15-year-olds have now been locked up for 40 months. The other was sentenced to a year.

Hardman, of Ivy Avenue, Osmondthorpe, was jailed for 37 months at Leeds Crown Court.

Mr Walls, 33, said: “I’m pleased it has got this far – there were times when I thought it would never come to court.

Julian Walls. The CCTV pictures show 4 youths who pushed him off it into the River Aire.

Julian Walls. The CCTV pictures show 4 youths who pushed him off it into the River Aire.

“But on the other side I’m sad for them that they have thrown away a couple of years of their lives for what was essentially half an hour’s fun.”

Mr Walls, of Garforth, was commuting home from his job at the Health and Social Care Information Centre in Trevelyan Square when he was attacked between the Royal Armouries and the South Accommodation Road flyover. He wasn’t seriously injured but said he had been left “edgy”.

“I don’t have any animosity towards them,” he added. “I just hope they have learned their lesson.” He also thanked the police for their help.

Det Con Debbie Farley, of Leeds neighbourhood crime team, said: “The significant sentences these four have received reflects the seriousness of this offence. Their dangerous actions could easily have had far more serious consequences for the victim.

“We hope the fact they have now been brought to justice will provide some comfort to the victim and some reassurance to people who cycle along that route.”

Turtle Dove project aims to boost numbers of once common bird