The teenagers suspected of brutally bludgeoning an Oxford postgraduate around the head with a bicycle D-lock have appeared in court this week.
Craig Knowles and Thomas Mack, both aged 18 years, are alleged to have carried out the attack on Kentaro Ikeda as he rode down a deserted cycle path, which left the 26-year-old with a severely fractured skull and fighting for his life in intensive care.
The pair of youths, both from Marston, Oxford, were arrested and charged by detectives following an investigation into the assault.
Knowles and Mack both pleaded not guilty to the charges of robbery and carrying out grievous bodily harm with intent, during a hearing at Oxford Crown Court on Monday.
The charges of robbery relate to the alleged theft of the victim’s laptop and a translation device also belonging to him.
The prosecution barrister told the hearing that Kentaro was stopped on the cycle path and repeatedly struck with “a cycle d-lock”, causing the critical head wound.
The court also heard that when quizzed by detectives, Mack denied attacking Kentaro but would not give any further details; Knowles refused to comment at all.
However, Mack’s defence counsel later told the court that her client had been in the area at the time of the attack.
The suspects, both wearing Nike T-shirts and crucifixes, were kept behind a glass partition throughout the proceedings, listening impassively as the prosecution barrister detailed the extensive list of evidence what will be called upon during the trial.
Meanwhile friends and relatives of the accused watched on from the public gallery.
The pair have been remanded in custody until their trial, provisionally set by Judge Anthony King for February 2nd next year.
Kentaro, a student at St Edmund Hall, was discovered lying unconscious on the track between Ferry Road and the University Parks by passers-by, after he was set-upon in the early hours of July 31st.
Paramedics rushed him to the John Radcliffe Hospital, where he remained in intensive care for the following month. He has since returned to his home country of Japan so that he can be closer to his family whilst he undergoes further hospital treatment.