Teenager saved from jail by testimonials

Glowing references for a Doncaster man have saved him from going to jail for beating up someone who pestered him for a cigarette.

The judge at Doncaster Crown Court said he was ‘particularly impressed’ by the letters describing Blue Horrobin as a ‘polite and pleasant’ young man.

The 18-year-old, who has no previous convictions, was given a community sentence after pleading guilty to a charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

His victim, Michael Morris, suffered a half inch cut under his eye, his top lip needed a stitch, and his face was bruised during the attack in Askern town centre last March.

Mr Morris, who the prosecution said had drunk two bottles of cider, came across Horrobin and his friend and said he wanted a cigarette.

Prosecutor Beverley Tait said he ‘became adamant and was pestering and constantly asking the two lads’.

Horrobin’s friend, a 17-year-old, has already been cautioned for punching him, the court was told, but the defendant then pushed him against a shop shutter and kneed him to the abdomen and possibly his head.

Mr Morris said he had since had difficulty sleeping and suffered a panic attack while out.

Defence counsel Robert Sandford submitted four references ‘which speak of the good qualities of the defendant’.

He added: “He accepts he was drunk himself and told the man to go away and was then called a bastard. There was an element of provocation because the complainant was making a nuisance of himself and then became abusive to the defendant.”

The judge Recorder David Ake said he accepted Horrobin’s behaviour was out of character but added: “Be careful that violence does not become the norm.”

Horrobin, of Highfield Road, Askern, was sentenced to supervision for six months and 180 hours’ unpaid work, with £100 compensation to the victim and £100 court costs.