Teen hit elderly man who came to help a neighbour

A teenager who assaulted an elderly man as he helped a neighbour would “like to write a letter of apology to his victim,” a court has been told.

The 14-year-old, who cannot be named because of his age, pleaded guilty to assaulting the man outside his home in the Greenhaw Avenue area on June 20 last year.

Derry Crown Court heard the teenager was just one of a group of youths who were antagonising the man, who was in his 60s, as he tried to help another elderly neighbour.

The 14-year-old punched the injured party from behind to the side of his face and knocked off his glasses.

The teen left the scene and was confronted by the man’s wife, who had witnessed the assault.

It was revealed the injured party was then subjected to a more serious assault in which he sustained injuries.

Passing sentence, Judge Philip Babington called the assault by the teen a “particularly cowardly action”.

Judge Babington added: “This was a simply deplorable attack on a man old enough to be your grandfather. It is a total disgrace and you deserve to be locked up”.

However, the judge accepted the 14-year-old had spent almost four months on remand.

He said the teenager “may well have been swept along with the crowd” during this incident but “there is no excuse for this behaviour”.

Judge Babington imposed a community responsibility order for 40 hours, something which he said he did with “some reluctance”.

He accepted the 14-year-old has made some progress and understood the impact his offending had on the injured party.

The judge added that he hoped the teen would “continue with the work you have started”.

He said that while he could not impose such an order, an offer by the teen to write a letter of apology to his victim “might be appreciated”.