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Four teenagers who threw flour and eggs at disabled woman and then took picture spared jail

Four teenagers who pelted a disabled woman with flour and eggs in a despicable attack have been spared jail…

By admin , in England , at November 2, 2018

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Four teenagers who pelted a disabled woman with flour and eggs in a despicable attack have been spared jail.

The teens sparked outraged after they were pictured throwing flour at Janice Morris, 49, on a park bench in Bury St Edmunds in July.

The boys, who cannot be named for legal reasons due to their age, were seen smiling and laughing as they posed for a picture next to the woman as she was covered from head to toe in flour.

Ipswich youth court heard how a fifth teenager, their friend Cohan Semple, 18, took the picture and posted it on Snapchat for his group of 25 contacts to see.

FILE PHOTO COPYRIGHT UNKNOWN - A woman covered in flour and eggs while boys pose for a picture in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. SWCAflour -Five teenage boys have today (thu) admitted pelting a mentally-ill woman with flour as she cowered on a park bench. Cohan Semple, 18, and four other teens, who cannot be named for legal reasons, spat at 49-year-old Janice Morris before laughing as they posed for selfies with her. The images were later posted to social media, sparking a national outcry over the "despicable attack", which took place in a park in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on July 27.

Four teenagers who pelted a disabled woman with flour and eggs in a despicable attack have been spared jail (Picture: Facebook)

But the image was copied by one of his friends and ended up being posted on Facebook where it was shared tens of thousands of times, leading to outrage around the world.



The court was told how the youths and their families had faced online abuse and direct threats from people who were sickened by the picture.

One father and one teenager was even said to have had death threats.

Two of the boys aged 16, a 15-year-old and a 17-year-old each admitted using threatening or abusive words or behaviour towards Ms Morris.

Semple also pleaded guilty to using threatening, abusive and insulting words or behaviour to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

He was released on bail, to be sentenced at an adult court on December 4.

Presiding magistrate Simon Islett told the others that they could easily be facing a custodial sentence if they were a few years older and in an adult court.

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Instead as they were in a youth court, they were each given a 12 month referral order during separate hearings and ordered to pay £100 compensation to their victim, a £20 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.

The 16-year-old was also fined an extra £20 after he admitted possessing cannabis when he was arrested.

Mr Islett described the incident as terrifying for the victim being surrounded and pelted with flour by a gang of youths.

Semple, of Bury St Edmunds, who can be named as he had his 18th birthday last Monday admitted the same charge, and was bailed to be sentenced by Ipswich magistrates on December 4, following a probation report.

A sixth youth, aged 17, denied using threatening words and behaviour, saying he had seen the others with the woman already covered in flour and joined in posing for the picture.



The youth will stand trial on February 13 next year.

Prosecutor Wayne Ablett said Ms Morris, 49, had been classed by police as vulnerable and had mental health issues.

He added that she had told police she had drunk two whiskies and had gone to a green space near to her home on the Howard estate in Bury St Edmunds at around 6pm on July 27.

Ipswich Magistrates Court

Ipswich youth court heard how their friend Cohan Semple, 18, took the picture and posted it on Snapchat for his group of 25 contacts to see (Picture: Google Maps)

Mr Ablett added: She sat on a bench near a basketball court and a play area. All of a sudden a number of male youths appeared around her. She recognised some.

They all approached her and asked her questions about drugs. She didnt feel unsafe or threatened and answered back as she does normally. She says what she thinks.

Some of them sat down. She said one of the boys was more of a loose cannon. He came from around the bench and spat on her head. She said, What are you doing?, and describes the rest of the boys laughing and goading each other.

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She was spat on once or twice more. They circled around her before going down an alleyway.

They were away for five or ten minutes and came back with flour purchased from a nearby shop.

This was chucked over her, covering her completely n flour. Her head, torso, face and lower half were covered in flour and eggs. The boys were laughing and she was spat at again, and one took a photograph of her.


She could see what was going on and heard when they were filming it.

Ms Morris told police that she was shocked by the attack and could not return to the area around the bench as she felt like she has been told not to by people who threw the flour and eggs at her.

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Mr Ablett said the youths involved were identified and named on Facebook by people who recognised them, leading to police arresting them.

Declan Gallagher, defending Semple, said the 17-year-old had been having difficulties over the last two years and was now back living with his family.

The youth who was said to be vulnerable and easily exploited agreed that he had been egged on by his peers and now felt remorse and wished it had never happened.

Claire Lockwood, defending the 15-year-old, said he believed the trigger for the incident was the woman having said something personal about the family of one of the group.

Mr Islett told him: If you were three years older, you could be facing a custodial sentence because this was a despicable event.”

The court heard that the other 15-year-old was grounded by his mother for six weeks after the incident.







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