Newcastle youth sentenced for assaulting disabled man and his partner


A Newcastle youth who launched an unprovoked attack on a disabled man and his partner has been sentenced at North Tyneside Magistrates' Court.

The 15 year old boy, who cannot be named, was sentenced to a ten month detention and training order after pleading guilty to two charges of assault. Under the order, the youth will be in custody for five months before spending a further five months under supervision. The sentence was uplifted after Magistrates found the offences were motivated by hostility towards the disability of one of the victims.

The charges were brought in relation to an attack on Northumbria Walk, in the West Denton area of Newcastle, in September of last year. Anthony Atkinson, 41, and his partner Louise Ann Dodds, 34, both from the West Denton area, had been walking to their local supermarket when they were approached by four people walking in the opposite direction.

One of the group pushed Mr Atkinson to the floor and tried to choke him, before head-butting him in the face. When Miss Dodds tried to intervene, the youth then punched her in the jaw before fleeing the scene.

Jan Lamping, Deputy Chief Crown Prosecutor at CPS North East, said: "This was a particularly cowardly unprovoked assault, seemingly motivated only by the attackers feelings towards the disabled victim.

"This must have been a terrifying experience for the couple involved and I hope that this sentence provides a measure of comfort to them both.

"Criminal offences that are driven by hostility or hatred based on personal characteristics undermine the very principles of fairness and equality upon which our society is built. Such crimes are based on ignorance, prejudice, discrimination and hate, and those values have no place in an open and democratic society.

"Where crimes are found to be motivated by such hostility, the perpetrators will see their sentences increased significantly as a result."