WATCH: Teenager admits punching homeless man on Christmas Day in King's Lynn
PUBLISHED: 11:30 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 12:01 27 February 2019
A boy of 16 has appeared in court and admitted repeatedly punching a homeless man pushing a wheelchair-bound friend on Christmas Day.
Magistrates at Lynn Youth Court on Tuesday, February 26, heard that video footage of the attack was uploaded to social media and widely shared.
The two friends were near the bus station in Lynn, heading for the night shelter, when one of them was set upon in an unprovoked attack. The boy, who cannot legally be named due to his age, was part of a large group - none of whom knew the men - and there was a racially-aggravated element to the assault.
The court heard that the man in the wheelchair fell out of it during the attack on his friend and has since died, although there was no suggestion of a link.
Referring to the online footage, prosecutor Nicola Pope said: “This particular offence shows a homeless man wheeling a man in a wheelchair from the bus station towards the area of Sainsbury’s. He is being surrounded by a large group of youths and is punched by [the boy].
“That is accepted by [the boy] and you can see that in the video, it seems to be completely unprovoked. You can see him punching quite vigorously and the victim says he was punched in total three times. Two are seen in the video then it goes dead.
“The group are surrounding him, shouting things and one of the group makes a racial comment.”
Paramedics treated both men at the night shelter. The boy pleaded guilty to a Section 4 public order offence and a racially-aggravated assault on December 25 last year.
Ruth Johnson, mitigating, said: “The most troubling part of dealing with these type of cases is that there seems to be no explanation for them, no root cause, as is often the case with incidents of mob violence.
“What is clear is that [the boy] has admitted his involvement in this from the outset.”
The boy, who has no previous convictions, also admitted assaulting another person in a park on December 16.
Magistrates called for a pre-sentencing report, with all options available.
The boy remains on bail with conditions that he lives and sleeps at his home address, that he observes a 7pm-7am doorstep curfew and that he does not enter King’s Lynn town centre except for court appearances, meetings with solicitors or the youth offending team, or when accompanied by a member of Social Services.
He is next due to appear at Lynn Youth Court on March 26.