A PhD student has been given a 16 month suspended sentence after attacking a fellow student with a rolling pin the Leicester Mercury reports.

Zhaolun Li, a Loughborough PhD student, struck a female student 10 times with a rolling pin during a late night attack in July this year. The victim suffered injuries to her head and hands after Li became annoyed by someone playing loud music after midnight and wrongly believed that the victim, who was cleaning the bathroom, was responsible.

Appearing at Leicester Crown Court yesterday for sentencing, charged with assault causing actual bodily harm, the court heard that the defendant was suffering stress at the time caused by the pressure of his research into autonomous vehicles.

Prosecutor Barnaby Shaw told the court that,
“She explained she was not responsible for the music, but he took no notice and immediately attacked her.

“He kicked her and taking hold of her with his left hand, he began striking her, she thinks, 10 times with the rolling pin.

A warden and sub-warden responded to the victim’s cries for help and duly called Leicestershire Police, who arrested Li upon arrival. The victim’s academic year was curtailed as a result of her injuries and the court heard that her injuries have had an impact on her confidence to going out and added to the sense of isolation she feels from her family in China.

In court Li’s defence team referenced the work he has done for the Students Against Coronavirus scheme and claimed he showed genuine remorse in his letter to the victim, in which Li says, ‘every time I look back, I can’t forgive myself’. Following Li gaining an MSc in Embedded Systems and Control at the University of Leicester he came to Loughborough to undertake a fully funded PhD in Autonomous Vehicles.

In a statement the University said:

“The University is not standing by the assailant. The University’s internal disciplinary procedures in relation to this incident had to be paused so as not to impinge the legal proceedings. Now that the court case has concluded, our serious disciplinary case will resume.”

Recorder Richard Davis told Li the young woman was,
“crying and had blood streaming down her face and had told the warden you were crazy and tried to kill her”.

“There are things which can be said in your favour. You are remorseful and you are of previous good character, you have good references from your school and your university.

Li was sentenced to a 16 month prison sentence, suspended for two years and ordered to wear an electronic tag to enforce a 7am-7pm curfew for 6 months.

In addition he was ordered carry out 120 hours of unpaid work and to pay £500 in prosecution costs and £500 compensation to his victim.


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