Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Rape rumors lead to riots, death

Another painful price for false rape claim -- this one in Birmingham, England. RAMPAGING armed mob of black youths wearing masks went around the streets of Birmingham attacking houses and cars and threatening fire crews during rioting sparked off by a false rumour. The series of violent incidents only came to an end when one of the group accidentally shot and killed another member of the gang, the city's Crown Court heard. Nijah Miller, 21, of Salstar Close, Aston, Dowaine Maye, 21, of Melbourne Avenue, and Daniel Smithen, 26, of Guild Croft, both Newtown, have denied a charge of violent disorder. Michael Burrows, prosecuting, said serious violence erupted in the Lozells, Newtown and Aston areas of the city in October 2005 following a rumour that a young girl had been raped by two East European men in a shop in Perry Barr. He said the rumour spread and developed, it being claimed that it was a 14-year-old black girl who had been held hostage for three days and who had been gang-raped by up to 25 Asian men.

''The police found nothing to substantiate that rumour at all but the effect on the community was horrific because it pitched the black Afro-Caribbean community against the black Asian community. ''Tensions ran high and there were many serious incidents of violence. Despite attempts to dispel the rumours the tensions increased,'' said Mr Burrows. He said one of the incidents involved a fatal stabbing and many crimes were reported to the police. He said the defendants were involved in what happened after 10pm on October 23 and into the early hours of the following day.

''These defendants were out together that night with others. They were armed with weapons, with a gun, with knives, machetes and sticks. 'They threatened people and they damaged cars and they threatened fire officers. The violence only stopped when tragically one of their number, a man called Aaron James, was accidentally shot and killed by Dowaine Maye.''

Mr Burrows said during that evening two fire crews had gone to a street following a report of a car being petrol bombed. When they arrived they were confronted by an armed mob, one of them telling an officer: "We are going to blow the town up tonight.'' He said one of them produced a gun and another a machete which he used to hit a side window of a fire engine. Mr. Burrows said in another incident a witness described a group of men who were wearing hoods 'dressed for a battle' and saw them throwing missiles which rained down on a supermarket. He said when police arrived the mob ran off, which was when Mr James was shot in Melbourne Avenue. He said that Maye had previously been sentenced after admitting a charge of manslaughter.