Northampton McDonald's ammonia attack 'chaos' described by officers

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Taishon Whittaker denies four charges of administering a poison or a noxious substance at the McDonald's restaurant

Two police officers were among four people injured in an ammonia attack at a McDonald's restaurant, a jury has heard.

Taishon Whittaker, 26, of Northampton, was allegedly involved in the "gang-related" attack at the branch in The Drapery in the town last 23 July.

He denies four charges of administering a poison or a noxious substance.

PC Karen Canwell told Northampton Crown Court there was "utter chaos" when the substance was sprayed.

"There were members of the public holding their faces," she said.

Although Mr Whittaker is accused of involvement in the attack, he is not accused of throwing the ammonia.

The jury has been told others have pleaded guilty to the charges.

'I felt burning'

The court heard the attack happened after Mr Whittaker's gang spotted a rival county gang.

PC Victoria Ballantyne said: "There were two groups shouting at each other, goading each other. I took hold of Taishon Whittaker and tried to pull him away.

"From my right side I saw someone moving very quickly with a clear plastic bottle and squeeze it. The liquid from the bottle squirted out and it struck the large gentleman I had hold of in the face.

"I felt the burning sensation at the back of my throat. It was then I realised it was an irritant; it wasn't water."

Footage from a body-worn police camera was also shown in court, and showed men running in all directions.

The court heard that the defendant was also hit by the ammonia.

Prosecutor James Keely said that Mr Whittaker had researched ammonia on his phone and that police had found the chemical at his home.

"Without double this incident has a gang-related theme running through its veins," said Mr Keely.

"To put it ineloquently, that's why it kicked off."

The case continues.

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