A DEVOUT university student was part of a group who chased a young woman driver, boxing in her car and attacking her friend, a court heard.

Judge Elliot Knopf was told how chemistry undergraduate Minhaaz Dadabhai was driving an Astra car at 1am on July 25 last year, and had just been to prayers at a mosque, when he pulled into the McDonalds restaurant car park at Derby Street, Bolton.

Charlotte Crangle, prosecuting, said his car and a Toyota Avensis both contained young Asian men, who shouted insults to people in a Ford Fiesta, which was parked up as the occupants waited for their food order. Driver Deborah Yates, two female friends and a third passenger, Andrew Worsnop, were on their way home after a party.

“Others within the defendant’s party were making derogatory comments along the lines of calling them “white trash,”’ Miss Crangle, told Bolton Crown Court.

When Miss Yates drove off the two other vehicles followed her along Derby Street, blocking a junction to prevent her turning into a side road and boxing her car in in Derby Street so she had to stop.

The court heard the people in the Avensis got out of their car and demanded that Mr Worsnop got out of the Ford Fiesta.

He did so, fearing for the safety of the women in the car, and was attacked with what appeared to be a hockey stick, said Miss Crangle.

Mr Worsnop suffered a cut mouth and bruised and swollen cheek. Police later tracked down Dadabhai from the number plate of his car.

Andrew Costello, defending, said although Dadabhai had been the driver of the Astra, he had been a bystander and had not assaulted Mr Worsnop.

Dadabhai, aged 19, of Hill Cot Road, Astley Bridge, pleaded guilty to affray. “He is thoroughly ashamed of what he has done,” said Mr Costello, who added that his behaviour was “immature and rash”.

He stressed the offence was out of character and the University of Central Lancashire student was hoping to do a Masters degree in chemical engineering at Leeds University.

Judge Knopf told Dadabhai: “You put all that in jeopardy in becoming tempted, on that night, to become involved in the way you did.”

He added that even if insulting comments had also been directed at him and his friends, it did not justify his behaviour.

The student was sentenced to a 12 month community order and ordered to do 150 hours unpaid work.