Two jailed for beating Jewish teen unconscious, but it wasn’t hate crime

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Two jailed for beating Jewish teen unconscious, but it wasn’t hate crime

The forensic team at the scene of the crime. Source: Twitter - @glenmeskell
The forensic team at the scene of the crime. Source: Twitter - @glenmeskell
The forensic team at the scene of the crime. Source: Twitter - @glenmeskell
The forensic team at the scene of the crime. Source: Twitter – @glenmeskell

Two teens who beat a Jewish teenager so badly he spent four days in a coma have been locked up by Manchester Magistrates Court, but only after a judge made clear the attack was not a hate crime.

Joseph Kelly and Zach Birch, both 17, laid into Moshe Fuerst and friends at a tram station in north Manchester last month, after drinking heavily. They were arrested shortly after and later admitted causing grievous bodily harm. 

Fuerst was knocked unconscious after being chased to a nearby road. He suffered a fractured skull in the assault and clinicians had to put him into a medically-induced coma. His parents later published photos of his horrific injuries. Two of his 18-year old friends were also treated for minor injuries.

Kelly, who kicked Fuerst as he lay on the ground, was sentenced to 18 months in a juvenile detention facility, while Birch got 12. The boys’ parents broke down in court as they were led away. Convicts under the age of 18 are not typically named, but reporting restrictions were lifted after a Manchester newspaper won an exemption.

District Judge James Prowse, who said “public interest considerably outweighs the need for anonymity,” also said the attack was not a hate crime. “These lads were not attacked because they were Jewish, they were in the wrong place at the wrong time and came across you two,” said Prowse, sentencing. 

“It was a one-off incident. They cannot remember what they did because of the amount of alcohol they had. It was an alcohol-fuelled, vicious attack. One of the boys is very lucky not to have lost his life.”

Chief Superintendent Wasim Chaudhry echoed the judge, saying: “At the start of this investigation Greater Manchester Police recorded this as a hate crime and investigated it as such. However, after our experienced detectives and senior figures within the Crown Prosecution Service examined the evidence closely, it was decided that this assault did not meet the threshold to be treated as a racially aggravated crime. That, however, takes nothing away from the severity of the incident.”

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: