Vicious attack at Churchill College Ball

Tabatha Leggett - News Reporter 18 February 2010

A third-year Churchill undergraduate was violently attacked at Churchill Springball last Friday.

Christian Rohr, an aero-engineer, described the incident to The Cambridge Student (TCS).

He said that he was kissing a first-year girl from Churchill outside the Dining Hall, whom he had known for approximately one hour, when a male student approached him from behind and asked what he was doing.

Upon informing the man that he was kissing the girl, Rohr was attacked.

He said: “I remember being struck once very hard on the head. I was subsequently punched in the head until I may have briefly lost consciousness.”

Rohr, who was accompanied by a friend to Addenbrooke’s Hospital’s Accident and Emergency department later that night, claimed that his attacker had told him that he had used “a bottle” and added, “I was shocked to see the quantity of blood issuing from my head and was in considerable pain.”

Rohr suffered a head wound of between two and three centimetres, which was glued up at the hospital. He described his state as “pretty dazed and worried”, and has subsequently requested “an appropriate response by the College for this assault”.

The attacker denied using a bottle. He explained that he approached the girl to “say something that was on mind”.

At this point, he claims that Rohr pushed him away “while making it known presence was not welcome”.

He took this as “an insult to pride” and proceeded to hit him “in the face several times”.

The attacker also admits head butting Rohr. Other guests restrained him, and he left the scene before security arrived. He was found by security around an hour later.

He accepts that he acted irrationally, and under the influence of alcohol. He has since apologised to Rohr, and will meet with the College Dean in the near future.

Elsewhere at the Ball, alcohol caused other problems. A bar worker who wished to remain anonymous told TCS that “one guy was so wasted that he tried to slip between the gap between a pillar and a wall, but got stuck and couldn’t get out. People had to get help, and as they were trying to push him out he was being sick on himself.”

Chris Campbell, Co-President of the Ball, told TCS: “The last hour of the ball involved a lot of vomit clearing up for the Committee and The Cambridge Red Cross was kept fairly busy.

“Unfortunately, this is the nature of a ball which supplies unlimited alcohol included in the ticket.”

However Campbell added: “The Ball was a fantastic success. I’ve lost count of how many people have congratulated me on it, and many people said that it was better than last year’s May Balls. One person even insisted that it was better than a Trinity May Ball.

“I think a large part of the success was down to the unpretentious nature of the Ball, which reflects the nature of the College generally. Our aim was simply to provide as much entertainment, food and drink as we could for the ticket price of £75 per head, and we never pretended to be doing more than that.”

However not everyone left Friday night’s festivities with such a positive attitude. Rohr spoke about his attacker, claiming “I feel unsafe around this individual. I do not believe that such inexcusable behaviour is fitting for a student at the University of Cambridge.”

Tabatha Leggett – News Reporter