Three people have today been sentenced after they savagely beat and robbed a student and left him for dead in a culvert.
The trio pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing and were sentenced today, 14 September 2012, at Manchester Crown Court.
Michael Brownlie (born 20/10/1985) of Erneley Close, Longsight pleaded guilty to attempted murder and robbery. He was sentenced to 18 years.
Nicholas Lindsay (born 07/08/1990) of Aked Close, Longsight pleaded guilty to attempted murder and robbery. He was sentenced to 18 years.
Katie Mongan (born 03/12/1993) of Mount Road, Longsight pleaded guilty to robbery and section 18 assault. She was sentenced to seven years.
On the evening of Monday 27 February 2012, 19-year-old Daniel Whiteley, a first year student at the University of Manchester, had been out drinking with friends in the city centre.
Shortly before 2am, he left his friends in a club and made his way home alone after catching the bus to Fallowfield. He got off at Owens Park, withdrew some cash from an ATM and went into a takeaway on Wilmslow Road to buy some food.
As Daniel was sat eating his food in the takeaway, Mongan, Brownlie and Lindsay came in and placed an order. The three had been drinking in the nearby park throughout the day.
Brownlie went up to Daniel and started speaking to him and it is believed he asked him for a cigarette. Mongan then started shouting at Daniel and became increasingly aggressive towards him, at which point the shop owner intervened and ushered the three out of the shop after handing them their food packaged up in a plastic bag.
A few minutes later, Daniel also left the takeaway to walk home, but unbeknown to him, went in the same direction as Mongan, Brownlie and Lindsay.
The three offenders approached Daniel and stole money from him. They were then seen on CCTV surrounding him and forcing him to walk between them, steering him in the direction of Platt Fields Park.
Daniel tried to escape but was restrained and forcibly taken to a secluded area of the park where the group stole his wallet which contained his ID card, phone, watch and cash. The attackers repeatedly kicked and punched Daniel to his head and body forcing him to divulge his pin number for his bank card.
They then removed him from the scene of the attack which left him with life threatening injuries, throwing him unconscious, down an embankment into icy cold water at the bottom of a culvert.
They then ran from the park, leaving behind them the food that they had bought from the takeaway. After fleeing the park, Mongan, Brownlie and Lindsay were again caught on CCTV withdrawing £250 cash from an ATM on Wilmslow Road using Daniel’s card, after which they went into an off-licence to spend some of this money.
Mongan also used Daniel’s phone several times to call her mother, before two of them went into McDonalds in Fallowfield at 6am for breakfast.
More than two hours after the attack, at around 5.30am on Tuesday 28 February 2012, a passing cyclist found Daniel at the bottom of the embankment and he was rescued by the fire service, assisted by paramedics.
Daniel was taken to hospital with horrific injuries, including bleeding and swelling to his brain, fractures to his face and jaw and other multiple injuries to his body. His head had been stamped on so hard that the imprint of a shoe sole could clearly be seen on his forehead. Surgeons had to remove part of his skull in order to relieve the swelling.
Daniel lay on a life support machine over the next two days whilst extensive police inquiries were carried out to identify him and establish who was responsible for his assault. The three boxes of takeaway food that Mongan, Brownlie and Lindsay had left untouched in the park near to where Daniel was found, proved to be a key starting point in the police investigation.
Officers were able to trace the boxes back to the relevant takeaway and study CCTV from the area, which helped to determine the movements of the group leading up to Daniel’s attack and ultimately to the arrest of the trio three days after the attack.
Six months on, Daniel has recovered sufficiently to resume his studies and is currently attempting to make up for the time he was away from University whilst he was undergoing treatment for the injuries he sustained.
However, he is still undergoing some treatment and rehabilitation for the injuries he suffered.
Detective Inspector Terry Crompton from GMP’s Major Incident Team said: “I can’t begin to imagine how Daniel must have felt on that night, as these three callous individuals dragged him to a secluded area of the park, subjected him to this horrific assault, robbed him and then threw him down a culvert with no second thought as to what would happen to him.
“They stole money from his bank account and used his mobile phone, as if they were their own possessions, carrying on as though nothing had happened. Two of them even went for a McDonalds breakfast only a couple of hours later.
“If Daniel hadn’t been found early that morning, it is highly unlikely he would have survived this attack.
“Daniel was left with no possessions and his family had no idea that he was struggling for his life in hospital.
“Thankfully Daniel has gone on to make a remarkable recovery following this traumatic ordeal and the defendants are now beginning lengthy sentences for a cowardly, vicious and unnecessary attack.
“I hope that Daniel and his family can today take at least some solace from seeing his attackers put behind bars for a long time, and can begin to move forward from the suffering they have had to endure over these past few months.”
Daniel's father Michael said: “On behalf of Daniel, his family and friends I would like to pay tribute to all those who contributed to saving his life. Their skill and dedication means this remarkable, courageous young man is still with us today, despite the actions of the three people who he had the misfortune to encounter following his night out with friends.
"Thanks to the fantastic work of the fire, paramedic and then the medical staff, Daniel has been able to return to his studies and given his strength of character and determination we have no doubts he will fulfil his potential and go on to have a happy and successful life in whatever field he chooses to work in.
"The future prospects for his attackers are obviously less certain and less positive as they begin the lengthy custodial sentences which they have been given, and which they richly deserved given the vicious, senseless and sustained attack on our son. We are eternally grateful for the fact that not only did Daniel survive his ordeal, but that the police force were able to find the culprits quickly and remove them from the streets of Manchester, thereby ensuring they were unable to inflict such pain and suffering on other decent members of society. We thank the cyclist who found Daniel and are indebted to GMP, the CPS and the prosecution barrister Mike Lavery for the support they have given to Daniel and his family throughout, for the highly professional manner in which they conducted the case which ultimately secured the convictions of these three young adults.
"Whilst we appreciate they may have had to face difficulties in their lives, this does not and should not detract from the seriousness of what they did and society is entitled to expect that the justice system ensures there are appropriate consequences for those who show such contempt for the rule of law and the citizens these laws are designed to protect.”