5 March 2008
A JUDGE has spoken of his worries about an increase in the number of teenagers mixing large amounts of alcohol and drugs and getting into trouble.
Judge Peter Armstrong made his comments as he sentenced Shane Lowther for a drink and cannabis-fuelled rampage in Darlington.
Seventeen-year-old Lowther could remember nothing of his wrecking spree and orgy of violence in Westminster Road, six weeks ago.
But the court was told how he attacked anyone who challenged him after he began throwing stones at houses in the street.
Teesside Crown Court was told that Lowther had assaulted three people and screamed: “I’ll fight anyone near me.”
He attacked another two residents before Mark Tenwick overpowered him and held him until police arrived.
One of the householders, Ian Thompson, who has limited mobility after two strokes, needed hospital treatment for lumps and bruises.
The 56-year-old and his wife were the first to remonstrate with Lowther, but the couple were punched and knocked into hawthorn bushes.
Mr Thompson was also kicked in the head and stomach during the teenager’s rampage on the evening of January 17.
Lowther, of West Crescent, Darlington, admitted assault occasioning actual bodily harm on Mr Thompson and a charge of affray.
He was jailed for six months after Judge Armstrong heard about a catalogue of crimes, including common assault and dangerous driving.
The court heard that the offences in Westminster Road also put Lowther in breach of a conditional discharge imposed in October, last year, for criminal damage.
Judge Armstrong told him: “You are building up a substantial record for one so young – this is not the first time you have offended.
“This must have been an extremely frightening incident for those people in the street.
“Mr Thompson is not a well man. Fortunately, he suffered lumps and scratches and bruises, but the potential for greater damage was there.
“As much as I would like to avoid a custodial sentence for one so young, it seems to me it is absolutely impossible in this case.
“There is not the need to make it a lengthy sentence as a deterrent.
“You simply need to be reminded that this sort of behaviour will not be tolerated.”
And he added: “Time and again we are getting cases where alcohol and cannabis seem to have resulted in violence. They just don’t seem to mix.”
Ian West, for Lowther, told the judge that there were two very different sides to his client, whose long-suffering parents despair at the nasty side.
“When not in drink, Lowther has shown he is able to work well with statutory agencies, and has returned to studies since his latest arrest,” said Mr West.