MAGISTRATES have told a teenage girl they will be watching her “like a hawk” after she took part in a late-night bus station attack on a man with learning difficulties.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named, punched the victim in the face during the assault while he waited for a bus home at Keppel Street bus station, South Shields, on Tuesday, January 14.
The man, who suffers from severe learning difficulties and psychosis and has the mental age of a six or seven-year-old, was also punched and bitten on the ear by the youth’s co-accused, Natasha Dambers, who will be sentenced for common assault on February 5.
The youth pleaded guilty to a charge of common assault at an earlier hearing and was back at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court yesterday, where she was handed an 18-month youth rehabilitation order.
Magistrates were shown CCTV footage of the assault, which took place shortly after midnight.
The court heard that the injured party was left “traumatised” by the attack.
The assault was sparked when the 30-year-old victim intervened in what he believed was a row between the two females.
He was dragged towards a wall and punched and bitten by 25-year-old Dambers, of Richardson Avenue, South Shields.
Magistrates were told that the 17-year-old had initially walked away but returned to punch the victim in the face, before offering an apology.
Paul Kennedy, defending, said: “She was genuinely apologetic about her behaviour and has shown genuine remorse.
“She was not aware that this man had any issues regarding his vulnerability.
“When I told her she reacted with shock that the victim had learning difficulties.
“There was nothing to suggest to her that he had any issues regarding learning difficulties.
“She accepts she threw one punch, she felt bad because of that.
“She lost her temper for a split second.
“She apologised to the victim at the scene and apologised to police and has pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity. She was not responsible for the bite and police have confirmed that.”
Neil Woodward, chairman of the magistrates, said: “We have heard today of a horrific attack on a defenceless man waiting for a bus.
“We have viewed the CCTV and we don’t believe that the victim was targeted because of his learning difficulties and that your co-accused is more culpable.
“But it is a shocking, bullying incident that left the victim traumatised.
“We will be watching you like a hawk. When you are told to jump, you will ask how high.”
The youth rehabilitation order comes with intense supervision and surveillance.
The requirements are supervision from the youth offending team, an intoxicating substances testing requirement, and an order prohibiting her from drinking or having alcohol in a public place.
She was also given a three-month curfew, from 9pm to 7am, and ordered to pay compensation to the victim of £100 and pay court costs of £50.
Dambers earlier pleaded guilty to common assault.