Home   Tunbridge Wells   News   Article

Schoolboy lashed out at pupils with mallet

A schoolboy who struck two fellow pupils to the head with a mallet just months after expressing feelings of anger and frustration was let down by healthcare professionals, a court heard.

The 16-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, armed himself with the tool and a serrated knife after experiencing what was described as "some foolishness" at Bennett Memorial Diocesan School in Tunbridge Wells in March.

During break time and in front of other pupils, he lashed out at one boy, hitting him to his temple, and then a second who tried to stop him from leaving from the classroom.

The boy hit out at fellow pupils with a mallet. Stock image
The boy hit out at fellow pupils with a mallet. Stock image

Maidstone Crown Court heard the youth, who had been overheard to say before the attack that he was going to "hospitalise" the first boy, then texted his mum to tell her what he had done and that he was going home.

He also told police in what was described as a "completely straightforward and disarmingly honest way" that he had planned the assault on his first victim and wanted to cause harm.

But a judge said the boy had been both bullied at the school in Culverden Down and failed by doctors to whom he had been referred with special needs many months earlier.

In reaching such a conclusion, Judge Philip Statman also read out a report from a consultant paediatrician who stated: "It is disappointing that more has not been done to help him."

The teenager admitted charges of wounding, assault causing actual bodily harm, having an offensive weapon on school premises and having a bladed article on school premises.

Judge Statman imposed a 12-month referral order during which time issues such as anger management, knife weapon crime and victim empathy will be addressed.

He will also have assistance from a charity and receive targeted intervention from the Youth Offending Team's health worker.

The court heard he had never been in trouble at school before, had excellent reports and came from a happy and stable family background.

Throughout the hearing the boy, dressed in a blue suit, had been allowed to sit at the back of the court instead of in the dock, and with his parents beside him.

Before sentence was imposed, however, he was asked to move to the witness box while the judge sat himself in a chair within feet of the teenager and also removed his wig to address him in a more personal manner.

Judge Philip Statman presided over the case
Judge Philip Statman presided over the case

Describing the attack as "utterly shocking", Judge Statman said it was aggravated by the fact the two weapons were taken into an environment where children must feel safe.

But he added that in understanding what led to the assault, he was satisfied the teenager had been singled out and bullied for being "different", as well as "let down" by those responsible for his care.

"I noted a period between September 2014 and Feburary 2015 where there was no follow-up despite the frank manner in which you told doctors about your difficulties," remarked Judge Statman.

The court heard one of the boys, who also cannot be identified, suffered a 2cm cut to his forehead which needed to be glued, while the other sustained a lump.

Both, together with their families, were praised by the judge after he was told they wanted their attacker to receive help.

Prosecutor John Riley said trouble flared after an incident a few days earlier in which one of the victims had wiped chocolate on the boy. This then led to "a dust-up" between them.

The mallet attack occurred on March 19. The victim walked into a classroom and the teenager walked up to him so they were standing face-to-face.

"He reached into his pocket, pulled out what turned out to be a mallet and struck him around the forehead," said Mr Riley.

"The victim described how it was a heavy blow, he felt immediate pain to his head and he felt dizzy."

The second victim was standing close by.

"Having seen what had happened and the defendant walking out of the classroom, he went after him and took hold of his bag to stop him," continued the prosecutor.

"The defendant swung the mallet around and also hit him on the head causing what he described as a lump."

Following his arrest, the boy spent three weeks in custody before being released on bail with stringent conditions including a tagged curfew.

The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court
The case was heard at Maidstone Crown Court

This, said the judge, meant he had effectively served the equivalent of a six-month sentence in a young offenders' institution.

During that time the boy had gone on to achieve at least eight GCSEs and enrolled at college.

The court heard he had also been assisted by Catch 22, a group dealing with vulnerable young people not in mainstream school.

Christopher Harding, defending, said they described the boy as being a joy to work with.

"He has attended every meeting and demonstrated his willingness and determination to engage in the help being offered to him.

"He is a young man with a future and a good future ahead of him with big aspirations."

At the end of the hearing Judge Statman said he will see the boy on a monthly basis to monitor his progress under the referral order.

Close This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.Learn More