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Grandfather attacked Cally youths with 'large metal bar' near Nedim Bilgin's shrine after they robbed his son, court hears

PUBLISHED: 16:02 23 May 2019

A picture of the crime scene and Nedim's shrine. Picture: Islington Gazette

A picture of the crime scene and Nedim's shrine. Picture: Islington Gazette

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A grandfather attacked a group of youngsters grieving Nedim Bilgin's death with a "large metal bar" after they mugged his son, Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court heard today.

Vigil and balloon release for Nedim Bilgin outside Coatbridge House on 02.02.19. Friends of Nedim have created a shrine in a pedestrian tunnel leading into Coatbridge House with floers candles and photographs.Vigil and balloon release for Nedim Bilgin outside Coatbridge House on 02.02.19. Friends of Nedim have created a shrine in a pedestrian tunnel leading into Coatbridge House with floers candles and photographs.

Mark Francis, 48, of Carnoustie Drive, was involved in a melee with a group of about 30 youths yards from his home on February 28, where he swung the bar at people and took a bottle to the head.

Francis pleaded guilty to possessing an offensive weapon and use of threatening behaviour with intent to cause fear of unlawful violence - and was sentenced to a 12 month community order with the requirement of 60 hours unpaid work.

Prosecutor Beata Murphy said gang tensions were running high at the time and the shrine to 17-Year-old Nedim - who was stabbed to death in Caledonian Road on January 29 - was monitored by CCTV. It showed Francis leaving his house, then producing a "large metal bar".

Ms Murphy added: "He can be seen on CCTV to strike a number of males. A female throws an object at Mr Francis. Another male was seen to strike back at Mr Francis following being assaulted himself.

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"The group in the area had been drinking and there were a number of bottles [some] used as weapon. However, from the CCTV, the main aggressor seems to be Mr Francis, who can be seen striking out at youths, who scatter in all directions."

Days before the incident three boys had stolen Francis's son's bike, but he got it back. Then it was stolen again, and Francis stepped in.

Ms Gondmia, for the defence, said Francis, who's lived in the area for 30 years, picked up the bar to "fend off those attacking" his son - and he needed "five stitches to the back of his head" after the fracas, leaving him scarred.

A probation officer told the court Francis panicked and feared the worst when trying to intervene. They said: "The primary motivation was to defend his son. He reports he picked up a pole. He admits to striking out first. He didn't know what anyone else might be carrying and didn't want to wait for anyone to attack him."

Magistrate Mervyn Mandell said: "Members of the public are not encouraged to take matters into their own hands as this can lead to very serious repercussions, especially when confronted by a large number of young persons."

He said the guidelines suggested a custodial sentence but given his lack of any previous convictions, early admission of guilt, the fact he had a family dependent on him and could potential lose his home and job if jailed, he was given a lesser sentence.

Five people have been arrested in connection to former St Mary Magdalene Academy student Nedim Bilgin's death but no one has yet been charged.

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