Mother of flour and egg attacker apologises for her son’s behaviour
PUBLISHED: 18:11 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 16:02 02 November 2018
A teenager whose photo of a vulnerable woman caked in flour and eggs caused condemnation could face jail for his part in the “despicable attack”.
Five of six teenage boys accused of ‘flour bombing’ the 49-year-old victim after a verbal altercation pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive or disorderly behaviour towards the 49-year-old in Bury St Edmunds on July 27.
The victim, a woman with mental health issues, was circled by the youths and twice spat at before being further humiliated.
An application to lift reporting restrictions on identifying the youths involved in the case was denied by magistrates. But, having since turned 18, one defendant can be named as Cohan Semple, of Wilcox Avenue, Bury St Edmunds, who may face custody on December 4 after the preparation of an ‘all-options’ report.
Prosecutor Wayne Ablett told Ipswich magistrates the victim was sitting on a bench in the Howard Estate when a group of youths appeared.
Following an exchange of words, she was spat at by one of the youths, who was goaded by his laughing accomplices, again being spat at before the youths left – reappearing 10 minutes later to cover her with flour and eggs.
A photo sent by Semple on Snapchat was posted on Facebook by a “friend of a friend” – causing outrage and leading to the arrests.
Declan Gallagher, mitigating, said Semple had received death threats since posting the photo, which he did not intend to be shared in the public domain.
A 17-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 15-year-olds all admitted their involvement in the offence – described as a “despicable attack on a vulnerable woman” by presiding magistrate Simon Ilett.
One of the 15-year-old’s mothers apologised to the victim, saying: “That type of behaviour is unacceptable in our household.”
The 16-year-old also admitted possessing a small quantity of cannabis when arrested and was fined £20 for the drug charge.
All four convicted youths were given 12-month referral orders and must pay £100 compensation.
A sixth, 17, denies the offence and faces trial on February 13.
Meanwhile, one of the 15-year-old boys admits criminal damage but denies a charge of assault – both unrelated to the incident.
His referral order will run concurrently with an existing nine-month order for possession of a bladed article. He faces trial for assault and sentencing for criminal damage on February 13.