A teenager walked free from court despite admitting burgling a home in Shropshire and attacking a 78-year-old pensioner.
As 18-year-old Luke Mansell stood in his tracksuit top and jeans waiting to learn his fate yesterday, his solicitor claimed he had been ‘scared to his wits end’ for seven months about what was going to happen to him.
He told magistrates at Telford he was ‘certain’ they would not be seeing his client before a court again.
But a quick glance at Mansell’s page on social networking site Facebook revealed he was far from worried about the case, as the teenager boasted of smoking a ‘big fat joint’ minutes before checking in at court and voiced his hopes of getting an ‘order’ rather than going to prison.
He also bragged of ordering drugs paraphernalia and posted a picture of a bong, a device used for smoking cannabis, on Facebook he had ordered off the internet.
A few short hours later, despite bashing 78-year-old pensioner Arthur Ball with a 5ft fence post, Mansell walked, smiling, free from court with a slap on the wrists and a suspended prison sentence.
It means he will escape punishment if he stays out of trouble for the next two years.
His first reaction was again to use his mobile phone to take to Facebook, telling his followers how happy he was about the sentence and expressing delight about the removal of an electronic tag that had stopped him from leaving the house at night since he committed the offence.
Mansell’s solicitor Mr Steven Meredith said: “For seven months he has been scared to his wits end about what is going to happen in this case. He is screaming out for rehabilitation, the youth offending service assert he has the ability to change, and I am certain you will not see him before these courts again.”
Mr Ball tried to detain Mansell after he caught him red-handed climbing out of the back window of his neighbour Anthony Edmunds’ home in Ketley Town, Telford, with a laptop on January 13 this year. But Mansell escaped Mr Ball’s grasp, picked up a fence post and hit him on the hip with it.
Mansell, who claimed he was acting in self-defence, and his accomplice got away from Mr Ball and his son before later being arrested by police. But the have-a-go-hero pensioner was left battered and bruised, on crutches, housebound and unable to drive as a result of the attack.
Mansell, of Hill Road, Overdale, Telford, previously admitted causing actual bodily harm to Mr Ball and burgling the home of Anthony Edmunds. The teenager appeared yesterday for sentencing.
Magistrates said it was a ‘serious offence’ which caused ‘grave harm’ to an innocent person, leaving them with no option but to impose a custodial sentence.
But the sitting justices opted to suspend the 16-week jail term for two years.
While on bail, Mansell had been on a strict curfew and electronically tagged preventing him from leaving the house between 7pm and 7am. Mansell was also ordered to pay £250 compensation to Mr Ball and will be on a supervision order for 12 months with a requirement to attend several courses.
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