Two vigilante fathers battered an autistic 14-year-old boy with a metal bat and an antique walking stick after they blamed him for a house break in.
Neighbours Daniel Street and Lee Perry, both 32, tracked down the teenager and subjected him to a punishment beating after one of them vowed: “I’m going to have to teach that little s**t a lesson.”
The victim, who had been cowering from the two men in a kebab shop in Denton, Greater Manchester, suffered bruising to his back, shoulder blade, face and head, along with two fractured teeth.
He later told police he and his family have moved away from the area and added: “This has affected my time at college and I have had to get dental treatment for my teeth. I am unable to go out as freely as I did as I feel in fear.”
He continued: “I stayed with my Mum four days after the accident for my own protection and I returned home to my Dads address after. It’s very stressful living in such close proximity with those two men.
“I have to be taken backward and forwards to college. I found the process of giving evidence to be distressing.”
Street and Perry denied wrongdoing and claimed the incident occurred following a break in at Perry’s home. But both were convicted of assault following a trial and jailed for 20 months. Neither have any previous convictions.
Sentencing Judge John Edwards told them: “This was nothing short of a punishment beating on a 14-year-old lad with autism.
“I want to make it clear that you were not aware of his autism – however, you must have known he was a lad of 14 and you much have known how vulnerable he was.”
He continued: “He was struck to the face with a bat, striking the teeth and was said to be cowering in the kebab shop when unceremoniously he was pulled out onto the street and struck with a weapon causing bruising and abrasion and badly fractured teeth.
“A man eating at a Thai restaurant opposite recalls seeing both of you hitting him half a dozen times as he tried to protect himself. He was left with two fractured adult teeth, the left and right incisor, and he now requires root canal treatment and crowning.
“The hitting was described by one person as a stabbing motion. Whatever argument you had with him, you should not be dealing with the law in your own hands. This was a street beating where he was punched, kicked and struck with a metal bat.
“You, Lee Perry, were heard to say: ‘I’m going to have to teach the little sh*t a lesson’ and that’s exactly what you did. You both thought giving him a beating would be teaching him a lesson. Immediate custody is unavoidable.”
The incident began at around 9.30pm on September 15th of last year when the 14-year-old was getting a meal at the Denton Kebab Shop.
Prosecutor Adrian Farrow said: “He appears to have taken refuge in the kebab shop and the two defendants were seen looking for him.
“The boy has no real recollection of the events and he is autistic. His only recollection is being at home, then being in hospital.
“Both defendants were armed with a metal bat and a walking stick and they arrived at the kebab shop and saw the complainant inside.
“He was struck to the face by Lee Perry as he sat inside the kebab shop. Perry had use of a baseball bat. The complainant was then dragged out of the shop doorway where both defendants beat him repeatedly with their respected weapons.”
He continued: “He sustained bruising to his back and shoulder blade and damage to his two front teeth. He also sustained bruising to the back of his head.
“He was described as having intermittent confusion and was kept in the hospital for observation where it was confirmed he was made subject of a CT scan.
“During the course of the trial, the defendants account was that there was an attempted burglary at Lee Perry’s home address and there was some disorder in the alleyway afterwards.
“The two defendants had armed themselves with weapons in order to seek out and find those responsible for what happened at the house. This was a sustained assault.”
In mitigation defence lawyer Robert Smith said: “Both men in their own way, express some remorse for what they did. Daniel Street did say he expressed regret for what he did and he acted foolishly.
“Lee Perry expressed remorse in his pre-sentence report.
“Both grossly overreacted to what was going on and they weren’t aware he was autistic. The reality is they had both gone over the top. No matter what they believed that boy did, he didn’t deserve to be assaulted.
“For both of them this was a one off. This is the first time they have committed a violent offence.”