Authorities in London charged five people Monday over an unprovoked attack on a 17-year-old Iranian-Kurdish asylum-seeker as police sought to piece together the act of mob violence that police say involved as many as 30 people.
London's Metropolitan Police said all five suspects were charged with violent disorder, with one also charged with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm in the Friday attack in the London borough of Croydon.
Police said a group of youths approached the teen at a bus stop and questioned him. Upon learning he was an asylum-seeker, they chased him through the streets and beat him. The attack only stopped after police sirens could be heard and bystanders intervened. Two friends got away.
The teen has been hospitalized with a fractured skull and a blood clot on the brain but police say he is starting to make a recovery and may be moved out of intensive care Monday.
Detectives are trying to find the victim's family, who live in Iran. He has not been named.
The attack has prompted strong condemnation from London's mayor and police officials. As the investigation has progressed, police have increased their estimates of the number of people involved.
"I think this was probably confidence by numbers," Detective Superintendent Jane Corrigan said. "It started off with this smaller group of people, who were joined by between 20 to 30, and they just viciously attacked these individuals because they were asylum-seekers."
During a short hearing at Croydon Magistrates' Court on Monday, the five people accused in the attack spoke only to confirm their names, dates of birth, and addresses. They are: Daryl Davis, 20, Danyelle Davis, 24, Barry Potts, 20, George Walder, 20, and Jack Walder, 24. All are from Croydon.
Potts, Jack Walder and siblings Danyelle and Daryl Davis were released on conditional bail.
George Walder, who was additionally charged with racially aggravated grievous bodily harm, was remanded into custody.