11-year-old in court for stick attack

AN 11-year-old boy, believed to be one of the youngest defendants in Suffolk, has appeared in court after beating another youngster with a stick.

Will Clarke

AN 11-year-old boy - who is believed to be one of the youngest defendants in Suffolk - has appeared in court after beating another youngster with a stick.

The defendant, from Mildenhall, who cannot be named because of his age, appeared before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds yesterday - despite fears it might “criminalise” the boy.

The court heard the youth assaulted his 12-year-old victim with a stick for 15-minutes in Clare Close, Mildenhall, leaving him with red marks on his arms, legs and back.

The accused, who appeared with his father in the dock, pleaded guilty to charges of assault by beating on October 30 last year. A second charge of carrying an offensive weapon was dismissed.

Jeremy Kendall, defending, said his client denied the victim had endured a sustained attack, adding the proceedings should not “criminalise” such a young defendant even if they had got out of hand.

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He said: “I accept the play had gone beyond certain parameters but it shouldn't be criminalised. There is a problem with young kids out of control and the defendant is now grounded by his father, who is aware of the problem and will speak with his son.”

Sarah Jane Atkins, prosecuting, said: “You are probably wondering why an 11-year-old is in court but it has not been possible to avert from court proceedings.

“The victim was a 12-year-old boy who had been playing in some bushes when he was apprehended by the accused, saying; “say you're gay and lick my shoes or I am going to whip you'.”

Ms Atkins then described that after his victim refused to comply the 11-year-old began beating his victim and in a 15 minute spell struck him with his stick 20 times, shouting degrading demands.

He was handed a six month referral order.

Speaking after the case the victim's mother said she welcomed the verdict because she felt it was important the 11-year-old admit he had done something wrong.

She said: “I would have preferred it if he had just said sorry to my son that would have been much better. But I'm quite pleased the matter hasn't just been forgotten about and swept under the carpet. I wanted him to admit what he had done.”

A spokeswoman for Suffolk police said: “Should a young person persistently offend, or the nature of the offence is determined to warrant charging to court, we will monitor and engage with the young person during the court process.

“No single agency has all the solutions to youth offending, but by working together, sharing knowledge, skills and experience, staff from the different agencies and professions can reduce it.”