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Boy spared detention for assaults shared on social media

PUBLISHED: 16:19 26 March 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 26 March 2019

Screenshot of the threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street. Photo: Archant

Screenshot of the threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street. Photo: Archant

Archant

A boy has escaped detention for three vicious assaults on passers-by in King's Lynn.

Screenshot of the threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street. Photo: ArchantScreenshot of the threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street. Photo: Archant

Magistrates in the town heard the 16-year-old, who can not be named for legal reasons, entered guilty pleas to three offences at a previous hearing.

He admitted a racially-aggravated assault on a homeless man pushing a wheel chair-bound friend on Christmas Day in Lynn.

He also admitted assaulting a man by beating on December 16, in an alleyway off Gaywood Road, and threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street between December 11 and December 25.

The boy’s mother, who was in court, wept as magistrates were shown videos of the attacks by prosecutor Stacie Cossey.

Screenshot of the threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street. Photo: ArchantScreenshot of the threatening behaviour against an unknown man in New Conduit Street. Photo: Archant

In an impact statement, one victim said the unprovoked assault, in which he was punched to the ground and kicked by the boy, left him terrified to leave home.

Magistrates heard the homeless man and his friend were near the bus station in Lynn, heading for the night shelter, when the man pushing the wheelchair was attacked by one of a group of youths seen surrounding them in a video taken by one of the gang.

He fell to the ground and his friend fell out of his wheelchair during the assault, which left him with a grazed wrist and swollen cheek.

In a statement, the victim said he was told: “You’re foreign. If you try to do anything, you’ll be in more trouble than we will be.”

King's Lynn magistrates court. Picture: Chris BishopKing's Lynn magistrates court. Picture: Chris Bishop

In mitigation Ruth Johnson, for the youth, said there had been “a social media explosion”, with the videos being shared thousands of times online.

She said there had been comments of a “terrifying nature” and death threats against the boy and his family.

The court was told the boy, who was described as “very bright” had hardly left his room since he was arrested. Miss Johnson said he was “disgusted with himself”.

The court heard he was remorseful and engaging with children’s services.

The boy told the bench he would be “embarrassed” to meet victims of the assaults and promised never to do it again.

After retiring briefly, magistrates sentenced him to a year’s intensive referral order. Chairman of the bench Meher Vanner said this was because he had no previous convictions, had pleaded guilty and taken responsibility.

He was also given a curfew between 9pm and 7am and ordered to pay his victims £100 each in compensation.

Mrs Vanner said: “We found it horrific what you did. No human being should ever be treated like that.

“If you breach this contract and come before this bench again, you know where you’re going. Good luck.”

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