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Teenage thug sentenced for week-long Wolverhampton canal attack spree

March 11, 2013, 5:33 pm

A TEENAGER has been sent to a Young Offenders’ Institution for 12 months after admitting a series of assaults in which victims were pushed into a Wolverhampton canal.

The 15-year-old admitted five counts of assault when he appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court earlier today (Monday 11 March).

He was also found guilty of theft and a racially aggravated public order offence. As well as receiving a 12-month detention and training order he was made the subject of a two-year CRASBO.

Police patrols on Wolverhampton’s tow-paths were stepped up last autumn in a bid to reassure residents who were left shocked and frightened in the wake of the attacks.

Officers painstakingly visited every local school and children’s home in the area to identify the offenders as quickly as possible.

Today’s sentencing follows the conviction of a 14-year-old boy in connection with the same incident in January after he admitted attacking three people. He was given a 12-month referral order and told to pay compensation to his victims.

One of the nine people assaulted by the 15-year-old between 12 and 19 September 2012 was 71-year-old Christopher Fitzgerald, who had ventured out for the first time on his brand new electric bike.

The young thug kicked the pensioner into the canal as he rode past and then pushed him in for a second time after helping him out of the water.

Mr Fitzgerald welcomed today’s sentence and praised the police investigation.

He said: “I’m very pleased the police got them and that they’ve got their punishment, but at the same time I’m still terrified to face the canal again.

“Thinking back on it, I could have banged my head and drowned or anything. I remember trying to climb out of the water and the group of them hiding behind the hedge, peering at me and laughing.

“I said to them, ‘I suppose you think that was funny’ and the one said, ‘yeah, it’s hilarious’.

“They offered to help me out, but the lad just kicked me in for a second time and stood away…it was disgusting.”

PC Joe Trusselle and PC Gavin Plumridge from Wolverhampton Police led the inquiry.

PC Trusselle said: “I’m pleased with the sentences handed down and I hope that the conclusion of this case brings some closure for victims.

“Some have been more badly affected than others, but clearly all have been left deeply scarred by the actions of these teenagers, who have shown no remorse for their actions.

“There have been no further incidents since these attacks and I hope residents are reassured that justice has been done and that Wolverhampton’s canal network is safe again.”

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