Evil teenagers who 'tortured' autistic boy, 17, for three days free to roam streets after judge fails to lock them up
By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 8:48 PM on 11th October 2010
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A family has reacted with horror and disbelief after a gang of teenage thugs who subjected an autistic boy to a terrifying three-day ‘torture’ ordeal walked free from court.
The gang used a mobile phone to film themselves carrying out depraved assaults on their 17-year-old victim.
During a sickening spree of violence the three thugs kicked and stamped on his head, repeatedly punched him in the chest, beat him with a tennis racket and then threw him down a steep embankment. The terrified teenager – who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism – was also pelted with dog mess, had his limbs scratched with sandpaper and was forced to drink vodka and gin until he passed out.
Mobile phone footage showed the yobs laughing and joking as they made him endure other abuse and, in a final humiliating assault, they applied adhesive tape to his genital area before ripping the tape off.
But Jack Bolton, Andrew Griffin, and Nathan Marshall, all 18, walked free from court. Judge Jonathan Geake imposed three-month curfews on them and ordered them to carry out 80 hours’ unpaid community work as ‘an intensive alternative to custody’. He also ordered them to be supervised by probation officers for 12 months.
Last night the teenager’s family, senior police officers and an MP branded the sentence ‘a joke’ and called for it to be reviewed.
His aunt, with whom he lived, said: ‘The things that these boys did to him were awful and disgusting. In my book they could have killed him and need to be jailed. The sentence is a joke. I can’t believe they have got off so lightly.’
She said the teenager, who cannot be named for legal reasons, quit college and moved to a different part of the UK to rebuild his life.
‘He was young and innocent and could not fend for himself,’ she said. ‘It was just awful. He is scared and vulnerable and they have called him a grass. He used to come home with bruises and lie about it but when he came home with a trainer print on his face I knew that there was something more.’
She said: ‘Now he has nightmares and he does not trust people. He is scared of everything really and now this lot are free to walk the streets.’ Minshull Street Crown Court in Manchester heard how Bolton, Griffin and Marshall had originally been friendly towards the boy.
But the 17-year-old, who also suffers attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, had felt increasingly threatened and bullied.
The gang, all from Eccles, Greater Manchester, told him they would ‘break his jaw’ if he did not do as he was told and made phone calls warning they would beat him up. Nicky Moore, prosecuting, said the threats came to a head in May when, over a period of three days, the boy was beaten and abused by the gang. His ordeal came to an end only when his aunt spotted the trainer print on his face and injuries to his body.
On mobile phone footage played in court the boy could be heard begging: ‘Please don’t hurt me.’
The gang told police they carried out the attacks ‘for no reason’ because they were ‘bored’.
Bolton, Griffin and Marshall admitted assault causing actual bodily harm and common assault.
Hazel Blears, Labour MP for Salford and Eccles, said she was ‘shocked’ at the sentences and would raise them with Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.
‘This young man has been driven out of the city and the perpetrators are walking round free. It should be the other way round,’ she said.
‘There is a sexual element to these offences – did the judge not consider making the culprits sign the Sex Offenders’ Register?
‘These offences go way beyond bullying. They were sadistic and have clearly caused emotional damage to a vulnerable young man.’
A senior police source said: ‘It is a shame that when the Government is making such a big issue about anti-social behaviour we do not get the backing from the courts. It was a sickening, disgusting, and hideous attack on a vulnerable boy.’
Judge Geake said he had taken into account the attackers’ ages, remorse and the fact they had pleaded guilty.