A STUDENT was hospitalised following a violent attack in Derwent Bar on Saturday after the screening of the Scotland-Wales rugby match. The student, Chris Wiggins, was left bleeding from the head after being set upon by four assailants.
Wiggins said that before the attack he had been “cheering for Scotland” and that “there was a bit of a banter going around, but it wasn’t really aimed at anyone.” The attackers, who are thought to be fellow students, were sitting a few tables in front of Wiggins during the match, and cheering for Wales. Another student present at the time said he heard them shouting “get that jock of a c***” before getting up to leave following Wales’ 21-9 defeat. Wiggins claims that “on the way out they turned over the table, I said something and then they started to hit me.”
The fighting in the dining hall section of the bar was quickly broken up by other students, many of whom were still wearing Dalmatian outfits from the RAG parade which had taken place earlier in the day. Attempting to calm the situation, they moved Wiggins out of the bar and into the hallway.
According to witnesses, Wiggins was waiting for his friends when the attackers emerged from the bar, only to knock him to the floor and kick him repeatedly in the head.
They further told how, when hearing the commotion outside, students in the bar rushed out and again separated the fighting. One student who had been involved in breaking up both fights commented that it was during the second attack that “most of the damage was done.”
Wiggins was then taken into the Derwent JCR to wait for security to arrive. The attackers returned to the JCR a number of times in an attempt to continue the attack.
Will Marle, a student who helped Wiggins into the JCR, said that he and others “had to basically guard the door to keep them out.” Former JCR Chair Dave Jones, who was involved in breaking up the fighting said it was “at least 15 minutes” before security guards reached the college, saying “it was really shocking how long they took.”
When the security guards arrived, they called an ambulance to take Wiggins to York District Hosptial, where health checks were performed.
Wiggins does not plan to press charges, saying “I just want to forget about it.” The University is pursuing its own internal investigation into the attack. A member of the bar staff working during the event has given physical descriptions of the attackers.
However, the investigation has been complicated by the fact that the lights in the dining area were switched off during the match, severely limiting the clarity of the existing CCTV footage. The fact that the attack occurred after the match had ended, as many people were leaving the bar, has further hindered attempts to identify the assailants through surveillance equipment.
Speaking after the attack, one student said that it was difficult to break up the fight without the “authority of a porter on-hand” and that had a porter been present it “might have helped stop the situation in the first place.”
Bar staff called security as soon as the fight broke out and were told that a security response would be mobilised. However, staff claim that when they called again to see how much longer they would have to wait, they were unable to get through.
The porters at Langwith and Goodricke were also called to the scene of the attack, forcing them to close their lodges, leaving the main campus without any open porters’ lodges.