Youth sentenced for flour and egg attack on woman
PUBLISHED: 18:41 07 March 2019 | UPDATED: 08:08 08 March 2019
A teenager who was part of a gang that pelted a woman with flour and eggs in a Bury St Edmunds park has been sentenced for his role in the incident.
A picture taken of the gang standing grinning over Janice Morris as she cowered on the bench sparked public outrage after it went viral across the internet.
Five of the boys admitted their part in the incident at an earlier hearing, but a 17-year-old denied a public order offence which resulted in Ms Morris having to give evidence at an earlier trial in which she told the court the incident had left her feeling “a bit shell-shocked, a bit raw”.
The boy was found guilty and was sentenced at Ipswich Magistrates’ Court on Thursday to a reparation order.
This requires him to complete 24 hours of work, through the youth service, over a three-month period.
He was also ordered to pay 49-year-old Ms Semple £150 compensation and £640 in court costs.
Lead magistrate David Broughton told him: “We have recognised your remorse.”
The earlier trial heard the 17-year-old was one of four who posed in the photograph shared online in July 2018.
He claimed Ms Morris was already covered in flour before he arrived, but was convicted as magistrate Sally Westwood said the photo “clearly indicates (the defendant) as a member of the group”.
She added: “He was not a bystander, he was smiling, pointing at Ms Morris.”
Magistrates heard Ms Morris is schizophrenic and alcohol-dependent.
The defendant, who sat next to his father in court, told the earlier hearing he went to the police voluntarily after seeing the photo on Facebook.
At his sentencing hearing, he told magistrates: “I just feel like I’ve matured a lot and I won’t be back here again.”
The court heard he attends college, has an evening job and goes to the gym three times per week.
Asked if things had changed since the incident, the boy said: “My parents ask where I’m going more, and what I’m doing to make sure I’m not with the same people I was with.”
His father told the hearing: “Things changed a lot.
“We talk more, we’re more controlling, he’s changed friends, he’s completely different.”
The boy told magistrates he would pay the money owed to the court himself.
Four male youth defendants and 18-year-old Cohan Semple, of Bury St Edmunds, admitted a public order offence at an earlier hearing and were sentenced last year.
The four youths - a 17-year-old, a 16-year-old and two 15-year-olds - were sentenced to referral orders.
Semple, who posted the photograph on his Snapchat before it was shared more widely by others, was sentenced to a year-long community order.