A man who placed a pillowcase over a heavily pregnant chareidi woman’s head before punching her “several times” to the head has pleaded guilty to a single count of assault. However the court did not deem the attack an anti-semitic and sent the man for observation.
Keith Gowers, 59, followed his victim, 20-year-old Beila Reisz, along a street in North London before launching the “unprovoked and shocking” attack shortly before 6.30pm on March 18 earlier this year.
Gowers appeared at Thames Magistrates’ Court on Friday. The court heard that the woman, who was six months pregnant and unknown to Gowers, was set upon from behind in Hackney and suffered a cut lip and thumb during the random assault. Her glasses also broke during the incident. Fortunately her unborn child suffered no untoward effects.
Gowers then fled the area, leaving behind the pillowcase he had used to cover the victim’s head. She was taken to hospital as a precaution.
The incident went viral after the Jewish community’s Shomrim posted a video of the attack in an attempt to find the perpetrator. Gowers was arrested on March 22- four days after the incident.
Gowers will be sentenced at the same court on October 1. However despite the obviously Jewish look of the victim and the fact that she wore a wig like orthodox Jewish women, the court stopped short of deeming the attack an anti-semitic attack, which holds far more serious consequences, preferring instead to view the perpetrator as “mentally disturbed”.
Varinder Hayre, of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), said that the victim was left “incredibly shaken” following the “disturbing attack”.
She added: “This was an unprovoked and shocking attack on a woman who was six months pregnant at the time. It is fortunate that her unborn child suffered no serious harm.”