Man kicked in head 'like a football' in Sunderland bus stop attack

The attack took place at Park Lane bus station
The attack took place at Park Lane bus station

Two teenagers who were part of a group that launched an assault on a man in a Sunderland bus station have walked free from court.

Martin Brown and Bobbi Surtees were part of a gang who attacked the man in Park Lane bus station.

The victim lost a tooth and sustained bruising on his head and torso after the group of youths directed racist abuse at him.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how a witness said they saw Surtees, then 17, kick the victim in the head "like a football" whilst he lay on the ground.

Brown, then 16, pleaded guilty to common assault and Surtees pleaded guilty to actual bodily harm.

The court heard the Crown Prosecution Service were satisfied that although the attack was racially aggravated, it could not be said that the two defendants took part in the racial abuse.

Prosecutor Graham O'Sullivan told the court how the victim was "in fear of his life" during the assault.

He said: "He (the victim) was walking across the station foyer when he was subjected to racial abuse.

"The crown acknowledges that there were between six and ten people involved in the unsavoury incident.

"He was pulled to the ground. He was then punched and kicked repeatedly in the head.

"He tried to shield himself. He was scared. He was in fear of his life."

The court heard how the injured man managed to "hurry away" from group and call the police.

Surtees, now 19, gave them Brown's name after she was arrested at the scene and interviewed by police.

Brown, now 18, was later arrested.

He immediately admitted his involvement in the attack on September 21, 2015 - despite the prosecution having no evidence against him.

The court heard how due to the lack of CCTV in the station, no other members of the group have been caught.

Jess Slaughter, defending Surtees, told the court how she had suffered from a number of mental health and anxiety issues.

She added: "If this case had been dealt with at the time it would have been dealt with at a youth court."

The court also heard that prior to this offence, Surtees had only received a caution for criminal damage.

Joe Hedworth, defending Brown, told the court: "He has had this hanging over his head for just over two years.

"He did not do any of the serious offending and he has not been in any trouble since."

Judge Edward Bindloss told the pair: "This was a serious case of violence in the street.

"There is a serious break down of law and order and the complainant did not deserve this.

"Most people would go straight to prison for that but I have to take into account that you were 16 and 17 at the time.

"The most impressive thing is that since then, both of you have been making positive steps.

"Normally, if you were an adult, this would have been a custodial sentence but because you were youths at the time I am going to take an exceptional course."

Surtees, of Ramillies Square, Sunderland, was sentenced to a 18 month community order with a 30 day rehabilitation requirement. She must also pay a £15 victim surcharge.

Brown, of Fordham Road, Sunderland, was handed a six month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay a £10 victim surcharge.