A 15-year-old schoolboy was stabbed in a McDonald’s in front of terrified families after his friend threw a scrunched up food bag.
The victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was with his pals in the Northumberland Street branch of the fast food giant in Newcastle city centre when he was attacked by Anas Aboearab.
After his left lung was punctured, the youngster was desperately chased around the restaurant before he fled down the street and members of the public came to his aid.
A court heard it all began when one of the boy’s friends hurled a scrunched up McDonald’s bag in the direction of 18-year-old Abeoarab’s table and he came over to confront them, ChronicleLive reported.
The victim escalated the situation by punching Aboearab in what may have been a pre-emptive attack as he saw the teenager going for his pocket.
He was then stabbed once in the torso during the resulting scuffle which took place around 4:40pm on May 30 this year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard how the victim was sat downstairs with his friends when Aboearab entered the chain alone. He sat down in the same area with three other people.
Prosecutor Neil Pallister said: “After a short while one the victim’s friends was seen to throw what appeared to be a scrunched up McDonald’s bag and that was thrown towards the defendant’s table. It’s not clear whether or not the paper bag hit anyone.
“The defendant then appears to have immediately got up and walked towards the table where (the victim) was sitting and he was seen to confront (the victim), who stands up.
“There’s clearly an exchange between the two and the CCTV appears to show the defendant reaching into his sleeve and the victim is seen to throw a punch towards the defendant and a scuffle takes place between the pair.
“The defendant can then be seen lashing out at the victim while holding a knife in his right hand. The victim described the knife as perhaps a kitchen knife with a silver blade.
“He was struck with the knife and was then chased by the defendant around the downstairs area of McDonald’s and the victim and his friends ran out of the McDonald’s followed by the defendant and he ran after them as they ran off down Northumberland Street.”
The victim made it to a nearby street where he was helped by members of the public and an ambulance was called when it was discovered that he had been stabbed.
He had a 1cm wound on the left side of his chest towards his back with a small puncture to his lung.
He said in a victim impact statement: “I was told at the scene my condition was critical and I was very frightened by this. I had to go without friends in the ambulance and I didn’t know what was going on. Nothing like this has happened before and I was worried about my family and how they would feel.
“At hospital I was told about my punctured lung and how serious this was. The whole incident was very frightening. As I began a physical recovery I was still in pain but wanted to get back to school and back to normal. On my first day I had a panic attack and had to go back home.
“I was not sleeping and struggling mentally and I got referred for counselling. If other young males approach, I’m very worried about what might happen. I don’t know how long it will be before I go back to being relaxed when I’m out of the house.
“I hate feeling like this. I should be enjoying myself and looking forward to the summer holidays, not having to start counselling.”
Aboearab, of St Peter’s Road, Byker, Newcastle, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to wounding with intent and possessing a bladed article and was sent to a young offenders institution for 32 months.
Recorder Tom Moran told him: “All too often the courts see, in circumstances similar to this, that actions such as this can easily lead to somebody losing their life. This has had a serious effect on the victim.”
The judge labelled Aboearab’s claim he had the knife on him to cut fruit “complete nonsense” and said he had shown very little remorse.
Kate Barnes, defending, said: “He had a disadvantaged childhood and has been living independently as an asylum seeker since the age of 17 without parental support.”
Miss Barnes added that Aboearab maintains he was carrying the knife to cut fruit but does not stand by his assertion in the pre-sentence report that he acted in self-defence.