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JUSTICE? No payback for victims of drunk vandal’s spree

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 13, 2014

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A 17-YEAR-OLD who scratched 31 cars – causing £25,000 of damage – in a ‘drunken mistake’ will NOT have to pay compensation to his victims.

The teenager – who cannot be named after magistrates refused to lift reporting restrictions, despite an application by the Mail – has been given a referral order and must pay £85 court costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

His victims will have to seek compensation claims in the civil courts after magistrates admitted their ‘hands were tied.’ They can only order up to £5,000 to be paid.

The defendant appeared at Burton Youth Court yesterday to admit damaging 31 cars parked in Belvedere Road and Outwoods Street, leaving their owners to pick up the repair bill.

His defence solicitor, Michael Taylor, said: “I have discussed matters at some length with him, however I cannot figure out a rhyme or reason for his offending.”

It was the early hours of Sunday, February 2, that the 17-year-old was walking home with a female companion after drinking at a party, and started scratching the cars.

Adam Warner, prosecuting, said: “She said he started keying cars. She asked what he was doing and he said: ‘I am doing nothing.’

Mr Taylor said while he could provide no reason for the crimes, ‘there are a considerable number of complainants who are clearly angry at what he did.’

He added that it was his parents who shopped him to the police.

“He is genuinely sorry for this moment of absolutely unfettered foolishness for reasons that are unclear to me,” Mr Taylor said.

His stepfather, who also cannot be named, said: “He has always been a good kid and we tried as best as we could to bring him up right, and then something like this happens. We don’t know where we went wrong.”

The teenager said: “I am really really sorry. I am just ashamed.

“It was a drunken mistake.”

With regards to victim compensation, Mr Taylor told magistrates: “Clearly he is not in a position to pay compensation and any imposition on the parents would punish them.”

He was given a nine-month referral order.

The Mail applied for the reporting restrictions to be lifted in the public interest as the offending impacts a large number of people, as was noted in a circular put out by the Home Office and the Chancellor’s department.

We also said alerting others to the offending would help prevent further offending in the future, by highlighting his actions on a larger scale.

We said members of the community and his victims have a right to know how he is being dealt with.

However, his solicitor, Michael Taylor, said there would be a serious personal risk to his safety, saying: “My concern is from the harm that maybe suffered by my client.”

He also added that naming and shaming him would create problems for future employment.

Magistrates’ said the victims will be fully aware of the outcome of the case through the police and would be made aware by the reporting of the case.

They also added it could cause harm to his personal safety.

Prosecutor, Adam Warner said 30 impact statements had been provided, some expressing their despair and sorrow.

“I am so disappointed that anyone would do this to my car.”

“I am very sad.”

“I always look after my car, so why should I have to lose my no claims bonus?”

“I want to know why this person has done this – there is no logical reason.”

“I need my car for work.”

“My husband is out of work, now we don’t have the money to repair the car.”

“I am so upset.”

“I find it annoying that people some intent on causing damage.”

“I have to pay myself.”

“I should be able to park anywhere without damage being caused.”

“I feel very said that this has happened to me.”

“I don’t feel i should own a nice car here – I cannot afford to get it repaired.”

“I have a young family. This is so unfair and an unnecessary crime.”

“I work hard and it took me a long time to buy that car. I only had it for six months.”

“I cannot understand why people do these things – it has caused me financial hardship and I am a single parent who will struggle to pay for the repairs.”

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