COURT: Man held knife to teen's throat in Knaresborough attack

The case was heard at York Crown Court
The case was heard at York Crown Court

A teenager had a knife held to his throat during a terrifying ordeal in which he was burnt with a cigarette lighter and punched until he bled.

The petrified victim was set upon by two thugs inside his own flat during an attack in which he also had a piece of broken glass pressed to his hand.

One of the thugs, 20-year-old Christopher Lawrence Newton, took the teenager’s PlayStation console before leaving.

The shocking attack happened at a hostel in Knaresborough in the early hours of May 19 last year, York Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Laurie Scott said police found the 17-year-old victim soaked in blood and highly distressed after being called to his flat by his social worker. Broken glass and rubbish littered the flat, which had been trashed by Newton.

Ms Scott said the victim, who is now 18, had been talking to his girlfriend on the phone when Newton and his equally-drunken sidekick, Aaron Childs, 20, knocked on the door. They barged in and started hurling insults at him.

Egged on by Childs, Newton punched the victim in the face and body, giving him a nose bleed. “Newton then picked up a kitchen knife and was waving it him, saying he would cut him up,” said Ms Scott.

Childs then started punching the victim while Newton grabbed the knife again, this time holding it to the teenager’s throat.

“Newton then burn the back of (the victim’s) hand with a cigarette lighter and hit his hand with a piece of broken glass from a mirror which had been smashed (by Newton),” said Ms Scott.

The victim - who knew of his attackers before the incident but had tried to steer clear of them - ended up with a swollen face, cuts, bruised ribs and grazes to his body.

Both suspects were arrested and appeared for sentence on Monday after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm. Newton, of East Parade, Harrogate, also admitted theft.

In a victim-impact statement read out in court, the teenager said he was now scared to venture out into town for fear of bumping into his assailants. He had suffered panic attacks and been to the doctor’s with respiratory problems.

The court heard that Childs, of Lead Lane, Ripon, had previous convictions for assaulting a police officer. Newton, of Robert Street, Harrogate, had 16 previous convictions including criminal damage.

Defence barrister Jon Greig said Newton was a trainee roofer who had grown up in care and dabbled in drugs.

Stephen Duffy, for Childs, said his client, a father-of-one, had also been using cannabis and had mental-health problems.

Judge Rodney Jameson QC sentenced Newton to 21 months in a young offenders’ institution, suspended for 18 months, and subjected him to a daily night-time curfew for six months. Newton will also have to part in a rehabilitation programme to address his alcohol misuse.

Childs, of Lead Lane, Ripon, was given a 12-month community order with a curfew because he had played a lesser role in the attack. He was ordered to pay £100 costs.