Taxi driver punched in Sunderland schoolboy’s teeth

15-year-old John Ridley, who was punched in the mouth by a taxi driver.
15-year-old John Ridley, who was punched in the mouth by a taxi driver.
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A DRIVER who punched a schoolboy so hard in the face his front teeth buckled backwards has walked away with a police caution.

Teenager John Ridley can no longer eat solid food and has been left facing months of agonising dental work.

AFTERMATH: John Ridley, shortly after the attack.

AFTERMATH: John Ridley, shortly after the attack.

The 15-year-old’s parents today branded the caution a “disgrace” and demanded to know why their son’s attacker has not been charged.

John had been walking to school with friends in Town End Farm when one of them threw something at a passing car.

Realising his vehicle had been hit, the driver got out, grabbing John and punching him in the face.

The force of the blow pushed back the teen’s teeth, buckling the brace he wears.

15-year-old John Ridley with his dad John.

15-year-old John Ridley with his dad John.

Now John is facing months of dental treatment in an effort to repair the damage.

Northumbria Police’s decision not to charge the driver has left the schoolboy’s family angry.

John’s dad, also called John, and his mum Caroline Dixon, 35, are now compiling a complaint against the move.

John, 43, said: “I think it’s disgraceful for a grown man to attack a 15-year-old in a school uniform and show no remorse, and nothing is being done about it.

“I would rather he was charged – if anybody else or if I had done it, that’s what would have happened.”

The assault happened at 8.15am on Thursday, January 30, in Blackwood Road.

Year 11 student John was kept off classes at Castle View Enterprise Academy as he recovered and has been taking painkillers.

John snr, who is also father to Wendy, eight, and a full-time carer to his father John, 75, added: “He was only supposed to have his braces on for another four months, now it will be longer as they bring his teeth forward.

“He can’t eat any solid food until his teeth get better.

“He’s in pain, he’s been taken aback by what happened and he’s sore.”

Police said following an investigation a 47-year-old man was interviewed on a voluntary basis and accepted a simple caution for common assault. Neighbourhood Inspector Tony Carty added: “All police forces operate under the same strict guidelines from the Home Office in relation to the use of cautions.

“Cautions are used for adult and young offenders, predominantly in cases involving first-time, low-level offending, and can provide prompt resolution for victims.

“There are a number of factors to be considered when deciding whether a caution is appropriate - including the specifics of the offence, the age and offending history of the person concerned, and whether it is in the public interest to do so.

“The victim’s views are also important to us to prevent them from feeling let down by the criminal justice system if the outcome is not what they anticipated.

“Neighbourhood officers have spoken to the family to update them on the outcome of the investigation and explain the reasons for the decision to issue a caution in this case.”