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Youth spared jail after assault

PUBLISHED: 12:53 07 February 2008 | UPDATED: 19:39 05 July 2010

A teenager narrowly avoided being sent into custody yesterday for his part in a vicious assault that forced a police officer off frontline duties for nearly six months.

A teenager narrowly avoided being sent into custody yesterday for his part in a vicious assault that forced a police officer off frontline duties for nearly six months.

While the 17-year-old did not deliver the two heavy kicks that fractured PC Robert Simmons' cheekbone, he had struggled with the officer on the ground as he tried to resist arrest on the seafront at Lowestoft.

The other attacker has never been brought to justice, but yesterday the 17-year-old defendant appeared before Lowestoft youth court to be sentenced.

The youth, who is too young to be named, had earlier pleaded guilty to assault with intent to resist arrest, disorderly conduct and criminal damage.

Chairman of the bench Trevor Lynes told him: “Although we've decided against custody, you need to realise you were very close to it.

“If you continue to get into trouble and escalate your actions then, sooner or later, you will be going into custody. You don't assault police officers, insult them or try to break away from them.”

The youth, who has two previous convictions for violent conduct, was given a 12-month community rehabilitation order and ordered to serve a curfew, between 8.30pm and 7am, for three months. He was also told to pay PC Simmons £100 in compensation.

An earlier hearing was told how trouble flared during the evening of August 3 last year, when the defendant swore at PC Simmons as he tried to arrest two troublemakers.

PC Simmons, who is aged in his mid-20s, warned the youth about his behaviour, but decided to arrest him after he swore again. The teenager resisted arrest and was wrestled to the ground by the police officer as a group of 10 youths watched on.

A short time later, PC Simmons received two heavy kicks to his head from the mystery attacker and was left with multiple injuries, which kept him off work for two months and away from frontline duties for five-and-a-half months. As well as a fractured cheekbone, he also suffered grazes to his legs and elbows and pain in his rib cage.

Rob Barley, mitigating, said while his client had pleaded guilty to assault, it was on the basis he had caused the lesser injuries.

Speaking after the case, Suffolk Police Federation chairman Matt Gould branded the assault “cowardly” and urged witnesses to come forward with evidence against the other attacker.

“To have 10 potential witnesses who are not prepared to give evidence against this person is very disappointing,” he added.

Anyone with information about the attack, should contact Lowestoft police on 01986 835300.

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