A UNIVERSITY student armed with a machete ran amok through Bolton town centre after confronting a group of men.

Muhammad Raheem, who was in his second year studying accountancy at Bolton University, grabbed the weapon from his room at The Cube in Bradshawgate after he was allegedly assaulted in the early hours of May 10.

Rachel Widdicombe, prosecuting, told how 21-year-old Raheem was spotted in Silverwell Street with the machete in a black sheath at around 1am.

The court heard that he appeared agitated. At one point a car drove towards him and he had to jump over the bonnet to escape.

“The disturbance then moved down towards Bolton Parish Church with the defendant swiping at another man with the machete, catching him on his leg,” said Miss Widdicombe.

Raheem was then chased by the group of men back towards Bradshawgate and he sought refuge in his room at The Cube student accommodation.

He was arrested after he left the building again and was spotted on CCTV. When officers searched his flat they found the machete.

Raheem, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to affray and possessing a machete.

Mark Fireman, defending, stressed that, at no point, had the machete been removed from its sheath and no one was injured. He added that Raheem, who is originally from Keighley, was out in Bolton when he was confronted by a group of men.

"Being young and stupid he thought he would show them that he wasn't afraid of them," said Mr Fireman.

"In an act of bravado he got himself completely and utterly out of his depth."

Instead of running away the men pursued him.

Recorder Mark Ainsworth was told that Raheem has been unable to continue his studies, has given up a part time job as a waiter and has left Bolton.

"His hopes and dreams for the future are somewhat suspended," said Mr Fireman.

Recorder Ainsworth sentenced Raheem to 12 months in prison, suspended for a year and ordered him to undertake 200 hours of unpaid work plus 25 days of rehabilitation activities.

He told Raheem: "The events of that night are, quite frankly, disturbing and shocking."

He said that, until he went to his flat to get the machete, Raheem had been a victim.

"You should have done the sensible thing, told the police and left them to deal with it. Instead, inexplicably, you picked up a machete and you took it back onto the street," he said.

"I have no doubt that, in your mind, you thought that as soon as you brandished it in front of these people that they would run a mile — but they didn't.

"One only has to read newspapers theses days to appreciate the concern there is within society about people who are prepared to take knives or machetes onto the street.

"You found yourself in a confrontation which was escalating and out of your control.

"The offence was committed in circumstances where there was a risk of serious


"You have gone from being, no doubt, a hardworking student at university to being on the brink of being sent to prison."