Jail for boy, 15, who stabbed a nurse in vicious attack, and caused £150,000 damage to Scarborough chalets in arson attack

A teenager who torched six seaside chalets - causing almost £150,000 damage - was released on bail and went on to stab a nurse so ferociously that he had to have his spleen removed.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 2:21 pm
Updated Friday, 21st August 2020, 2:24 pm

The youth - who was just 15 at the time and cannot be named for legal reasons - left a trail of destruction which left half a dozen chalets a smouldering wreck, a seaside café stripped of its takings and a man coming within an inch of his life after being stabbed repeatedly and given a savage beating, York Crown Court heard.

The named teen, high on cocaine and booze, was skulking around Scarborough’s North Bay in the early hours of August 22 last year with another young lout, carrying a box of matches and hell-bent on destruction.

They broke into Peasholm Park café and stole £60 from the till. The site manager turned up in the morning to find the cash-register drawer gone and the window smashed to smithereens.

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The chalets were targeted last August.

Within a short space of time, the teen terrors burgled two seafront chalets in North Bay, stealing hundreds of pounds’ worth of goods, wrecking the holiday homes and damaging 14 others.

Just before 7am, the manager of the North Bay holiday site got a call to say that firefighters were at the scene. She turned up to find six chalets severely fire-damaged and strewn with smashed glass from broken windows, said prosecutor Mark McKone.

One of the chalets was “completely destroyed” and all its contents had gone up in smoke, including a wet suit belonging to a woman who rented the property. The damage to the chalets was so severe the repair bill came to £149,400.

When police caught up with one of the teens - who was 14 at the time - just a few hours later, they found a broken beer bottle and three boxes of matches in his rucksack.

The chalets were targeted last August.

His sidekick, the 15-year-old defendant, was brought in for questioning but blamed his mate, saying he was “just watching the fire service putting the fire out”.

The 15-year-old was bailed following the incident in August 2019, but just five months later, on January 3 this year, he was part of a gang of three youths who robbed a man at knifepoint after he had been to a cashpoint.

The named victim - who worked as a nurse - was “stabbed, kicked and robbed” after being lured into an alleyway in Harrogate town centre in the early hours of the morning when the gang stole £100 from him.

The 15-year-old arsonist – who was on a youth rehabilitation order after accumulating a “shocking” criminal record of 41 previous offences – was the one who delivered the blows with the 10-inch blade. The victim suffered horrific internal injuries and had to have his spleen removed.

“His bowel was damaged (and) he had to have a colostomy (operation),” added Mr McKone.

“(The victim) had a one-inch stab wound in his left side. There were two penetrating wounds to the diaphragm, two penetrating wounds to the colon, leading to removal of part of the bowel and a colostomy. The spleen was removed. That has left (the victim) susceptible to infection for life.”

The victim, said to be a family man, also suffered wounds above his eye and to his upper arm, a punctured lung and cuts to his knees.

After surgery his blood pressure began to drop and he was rushed into an operating theatre. Surgeons managed to repair the damage, but he is now a shell of a man and had to be fitted with a colostomy bag.

Mr McKone said that the 15-year-old – who has roots in both Scarborough and Harrogate – was the “lead” player in the shocking episode of violence.

“CCTV showed (the victim) laid on his back, with his arms and legs splayed out in an attempt to fend (the teen) off,” added Mr McKone.

“(The named teenager) kicked him to the legs and body. All three (youths) were surrounding (the victim).

“The (named teenager) leant forward with the knife. He brought the knife down in a wide, sweeping, slashing motion, using so much force that the knife ricocheted off the left eyebrow bone and fell on the pavement.”

The victim - who had been watched as he withdrew £100 from a cash machine - could no longer exercise or play with his young son.

“He was forced to isolate during lockdown,” said Mr McKone. “He’s a nurse and felt really bad that he couldn’t help those in need during the (pandemic).”

The robbers fled to Leeds following the attack where the knife was thrown into a stream.

The youth told police he held the knife to the victim’s throat and told him to empty his pockets.

“He said he sliced his leg,” added Mr McKone.

“He said he had taken cocaine about an hour before the incident (and that) he did not know what he was doing.”

Defence barrister Tom Storey, for the youth, said the teen had a drink and drug problem and had downed about eight cans of beer before the arson attack in Scarborough.

The teen - now 16 - had already admitted the Harrogate robbery, causing grievous bodily harm with intent and possessing an offensive weapon when he appeared at the Crown Court in February, when his young accomplices were given custodial sentences of at least 18 months.

Mr Storey said the teenager’s family had lived a “transient” life and he ultimately ended up in care where his behaviour was described as “challenging”. He was described as intelligent despite abject schooling.

His offending began at the age of 14, when he was placed in a children’s home in Scarborough.

Mr Storey said alcohol and drug abuse had led to the shocking crime spree in Scarborough and Harrogate and he was now at risk of becoming institutionalised.

The teen, who appeared in court via video link, admitted three counts of burglary, criminal damage and arson in relation to the offences in Scarborough. He also fell to be sentenced for the “planned” robbery, GBH and knife possession in Harrogate.

Judge Sean Morris said despite the teen’s tender years, he had to lock him up for the public good, “because I consider you to be a dangerous young man”.

Mr Morris said the stab victim had suffered “life-changing” injuries and told the youth he had shown a distinct lack of remorse.

“That man was lucky to get away with his life,” he added.

“And while he lie wounded and bleeding on the ground, you robbed him. You could have left him for dead.”

The youth - who sat with his arms crossed throughout the hour-long hearing - was jailed for four years and eight months, of which he will serve at least two-thirds behind bars, possibly even the whole tariff if he is still judged to be dangerous.

The judge ordered that upon his release, he must serve an extended three years on prison licence due to his “exceptionally-serious record…which beggared belief”.

The other youth involved in the arson and burglary incidents has also admitted the offences and will be sentenced on September 25. He was 14 at the time and lives in Scarborough.