RAMAPAGING TEEN STAYS LOCKED UP

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - FRONT PAGE - by STRAND NEWS SER­VICE tms-newsed­i­tor@trin­i­tymir­ror.com Twit­ter: @GetBucks

THE ring­leader of a teenage gang who went on a ram­page in Ger­rards Cross and High Wy­combe has been told by top judges he can­not com­plain about his sen­tence.

The 14-year-old, who can­not be named, was locked up for two years and eight months at Ayles­bury Crown Court in July, af­ter ad­mit­ting two rob­beries, as­sault by beat­ing and pos­sess­ing a knife.

The boy, from High Wy­combe, on Wed­ne­say last week chal­lenged his sen­tence at the Court of Ap­peal in Lon­don, with his lawyers ar­gu­ing it was “too long” for some­one of his age.

But his com­plaints were dis­missed by three of the coun­try’s most se­nior judges, who said his crimes were so se­ri­ous that the sen­tence was jus­ti­fied.

The court heard the boy and nine oth­ers teenagers – most with their faces cov­ered by ski masks – sur­rounded a 14-year-old boy on East Com­mon, Ger­rards Cross, on De­cem­ber 30 last year.

The vic­tim was knocked to the ground where he was punched, kicked and stamped on in an at­tack which was filmed by gang mem­bers and shared on so­cial me­dia.

He had his mo­bile phone taken from him af­ter be­ing threat­ened with a knife by the gang leader – aged just 13 at the time – who later sold the phone.

The gang, in “high spir­its” af­ter the at­tack, then trav­elled to High Wy­combe by train.

They went into the Eden shop­ping cen­tre, where they stole a watch from a 14-year-old boy af­ter try­ing to take his back­pack – which was again sold by the gang leader.

They also knocked a woman to the ground and as­saulted an 18-year-old man.

The boy was said to have led the vi­o­lence, as he took the knife to the com­mon, used it to threaten the vic­tim and sold on the stolen items.

His lawyers ar­gued his sen­tence was far too tough, say­ing the crown court judge didn’t take enough ac­count of how young and im­ma­ture he was at the time.

But, re­ject­ing his ap­peal, Mr Jus­tice Langstaff said the judge did have re­gard to the boy’s youth and the sen­tence was not ex­ces­sive.

Sit­ting with Lady Jus­tice Hallett and Mr Jus­tice King, he added: “Far from show­ing re­morse, he cel­e­brated what he had done in the video, and a ‘mood of tri­umphal­ism’, as the judge rightly called it, in­fected what hap­pened next at the shop­ping cen­tre.

“We do not think that the sen­tence for rob­bery could be said to be ex­ces­sive, even for one so young.”

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