Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family's Disgust

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Family's Disgust

Article excerpt

Byline: Simon Haworth

The family of a youngster allegedly abused and tortured by another boy have spoken of their disgust today after lawyers dramatically dropped the case.

The boy's 34-year-old mum says she feels sickened that the alleged attack on her young son will go unpunished.

A youngster accused of the attack, who was just ten at the time of the incident, has been judged "unfit to plead" following psychiatric reports.

An assault was said to have happened in September 2004 when the alleged victim, who was then four, was playing outside the family home in Stockton.

Two ten-year-old boys were alleged to have lured him away from safety before subjecting him to a severe beating, stab wounds and sexual abuse in an hour-long ordeal.

Another boy and girl were said to have found him in a house half-naked and took him home as his mum frantically searched for him.

The police were called but, the mum says, did not come until the following evening - a delay she feels was unacceptable.

Child protection unit officers, social workers and a police photographer went to the house and the boy was examined at hospital.

The mother - who the Gazette has chosen not to identify to protect the child - says her son was covered in tiny puncture wounds and bruises.

The case went to court, and a preliminary hearing held last year at Teesside Magistrates Court sent the case to Crown court because of its seriousness.

But this week Teesside Crown Court heard the defendant was unfit to enter a plea and the case was dropped.

Charges on the court file, but not read out, included assault occasioning actual bodily harm, sexual assault of a child under the age of 13, namely four, and causing or inciting a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Peter Bowers agreed to "stay" the indictment and ordered the boy's release. …

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