Baseball bat thug gets four months

MAGISTRATES have refused to let The Evening Star identify a pair of young thugs who terrorised an Ipswich estate.Over the years the teenage yobs have been charged with dozens of offences between them – including smashing up cars on a vodka-fuelled rampage.

MAGISTRATES have refused to let The Evening Star identify a pair of young thugs who terrorised an Ipswich estate.

Over the years the teenage yobs have been charged with dozens of offences between them – including smashing up cars on a vodka-fuelled rampage.

But magistrates ruled it was not in the public interest to reveal their identity, despite sentencing one to four months' detention for attacking a man with a baseball bat.

Barry Manning, chairman of the bench at South East Suffolk Magistrates Court, said the judgment was made in the interests of the youths' welfare.

He said: "We do not find the public interest test has been satisfied."

Mr Manning and his fellow magistrate Margaret Llewellyn had heard how the pair were part of a gang which gathered on the streets of their Ipswich estate on October 22 last year.

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Margaret Cutts, prosecuting, said the two youths were identified by several witnesses who saw them smashing up cars that evening.

Mrs Cutts said one of the youths then attacked a man who came out of his house in an effort to protect his Renault car.

She said: "The youth tried to hit the man with what looked like a baseball bat.

"He put his hands up to protect himself and ended up with a golf ball-sized bruise on the palm of his hand."

The 17-year-old admitted common assault and two counts of criminal damage.

His 16-year-old friend also admitted two counts of criminal damage, including causing hundreds of pounds of damage to an Ipswich council tipper truck.

Mrs Cutts said when one of the youths was challenged about his behaviour, he responded by shouting: "That's what you get, you old man."

Michael Stephenson, defending the 17-year-old, admitted his client's actions were "totally unacceptable."

He said his behaviour was the result of drinking large amounts of vodka when he was unused to alcohol.

Although he admitted his client had a long history of offending, Mr Stephenson said the violent attack was out of character.

He described the baseball bat attack as "unpremeditated" and "unplanned" and the said the youth was ashamed of his actions.

Tanya Thomas, defending the 16-year-old, also blamed vodka for the car-wrecking spree.

She said her client had largely stayed out of trouble since the October offences and had begun taking steps to change his life.

Mrs Thomas said he had started voluntary work and was working with a community action group to improve life on his estate.

Magistrates sentenced the older youth to a four-month detention and training order. No separate penalty was imposed for his criminal damage offences. His younger friend was punished with a community-based three-month action plan.

Magistrates also ordered his mother to undergo a three-month parenting order and imposed compensation payments of £444.

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