Prosecutor labels Northampton man 'part and parcel' of 'gang-related' ammonia attack

Taishon Whittaker, 26, is on trial for taking part in an incident where members of the public were splashed with ammonia.
Taishon Whittaker, 26, is on trial for taking part in an incident where members of the public were splashed with ammonia.

A 26-year-old Northampton man was meant to grab and hold a victim so his 'fellow gang members' could throw ammonia in his face, a prosecutor has alleged.

But Taishon Whittaker, from Ecton, denies taking part in the "gang-related" attack outside McDonald's in The Drapery in July 2017.

At the third day of his trial yesterday (January 11) at Northampton Crown Court, Whittaker claims he meant to put a "friendly arm" around an 18-year-old boy so he could talk to him when he saw him in a commotion with the police.

He claims he did not see or know about three men approaching the McDonalds, including his cousin, who moments later splashed the crowd with a plastic bottle of ammonia.

The three men, Jake Price, 22, and Frank Taylor, 24, both from Wellingborough, as well as Ijuha Sterling-Campbell, 20, from Ecton, have all pleaded guilty to administering a noxious substance.

In court, prosecutor James Keely asked Whittaker: "You meant to grab him and hold him so he could feel the full force of the ammonia in his face, isn't that right?"

Whittaker replied: "No. Why would I stand behind someone I knew was about to be splashed with ammonia?"

Mr Keely said: "You were shown pictures of [Taylor, Price and Sterling-Campbell] during your police interview. You said you did not know any of them. That was a lie, wasn't it?"

Whittaker said: "It was a mistake. I was tired and got mixed up."

Mr Keely said: "You were part and parcel of that attack, weren't you?"

Whittaker replied: "No."

At around 4.30am on July 23, last year, four members of the public, including two police officers, were splashed with ammonia in an early morning attack.

On the second day of his trial, Whittaker claimed he went to McDonald's to pick up food for his girlfriend when 'out of nowhere' he was splashed in the face with ammonia.

Police found two bottles of cleaning ammonia in an attic above Whittaker's room, and found he had looked up ammonia on his phone.

Whittaker claims he planned to use the ammonia to clean his shoes, but denied putting the bottles in his room.

The trial continues.