Boy Detained Over Soldier Attack

A 16-year-old boy who launched an unprovoked attacked on a soldier recovering from Afghanistan bomb blast injuries has been detained for six months.

The unnamed youth was looking for a fight in October this year in Cowes, Isle of Wight, when he punched Private Jamie Laws to the ground, the Crown Prosecution Service said.

The soldier from the Canterbury-based Royal Regiment of Scotland had been caught in an explosion which badly damaged his arm. As a result, he lost the full use of his hand and could not have defended himself.

The teenager was wearing motorcycle gloves with carbon fibre knuckles, described by a witness as  "dangerous'', and he tried to provoke a fight by goading and baiting members of the public.

He then launched the attack on Pte Laws, 22, who had recently been repatriated from Afghanistan for emergency surgery.

Hayley Porter-Straw, Senior Crown Prosecutor for CPS Wessex, said:

"He punched an innocent passer-by in a completely unprovoked assault causing Mr Laws to spin around and collapse on the floor.

"The defendant returned minutes later and attacked him again, leaving him with a cut above the eye, bruising and blood loss.

"Four weeks after the attack, Mr Laws still had a visible scar from the injury to his eye. The defendant was heard to proudly announce to his friends, 'I've just done this matey in, I've done him'.

"We carefully reviewed the evidence provided to us by the police and it was clear from the CCTV and witnesses' statement that the defendant was responsible.

"Mr Laws was in a fragile state emotionally and physically as a result of the traumatic events he experienced in Afghanistan.''

The teenager pleaded guilty to assault and was sentenced to the detention and training order at Newport Youth Court on the island.