A teenager who was part of a gang that pelted a vulnerable woman with flour and eggs before posing for a sickening photo, has said that he wants to apologise to her.
The shame-faced 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said he was full of remorse when appearing for sentencing today.
His solicitor claimed that the teenager would be living with the guilt of the attack for the rest of his life until ‘he goes into the ground in a box’.
He was aged 16 at the time of the horrifying attack and claimed that he did not throw anything over Janice Morris, 49, as she was sitting on a park bench in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk in July last year.
An image (pictured) showing the teenagers posing behind the mentally-ill victim following the attack, sparked an online witch hunt after being posted on Snapchat and Facebook
However, he admitted to laughing as he went over to pose for the photo, alongside three others.
As they posed, their mentally ill victim cowered in front of them.
The photo sparked national outrage when it spread on social media after the attack.
The teenager gave himself up at a police station with his father when he heard that police were investigating the picture.
He denied a public order offence, but was found guilty at a trial last month at Ipswich youth court.
The teenager was today given a three month reparation order requiring him to do 24 hours of unpaid work.
Chris Casey, defending, said the teen admitted he had been ‘immature’ and that he now realised his actions had caused the victim to be ‘distressed and upset’, although he did not appreciate it at the time.
Mr Casey added: ‘He was not part of the initial group, but his conduct was totally unacceptable.
A 17-year-old has now admitted to posing for the photo, though he claims he did not throw anything at Janice Morris
‘He says he would like to meet the lady to apologise to her face to face, and say to her that what he did was wrong.
‘He accepts his presence there was encouraging people in their behaviour. He wants to see her and say, ”I am very sorry. I was wrong”.
‘He has recognised the consequences of his behaviour. At the time, he was aged 16. I have told him that until the day he goes into the ground in a box, this will live with him for the rest of his life.’
Mr Casey said the teenager was now at college and working 15 hours a week in a part time job, and felt that he had ’embarrassed’ himself and his family.
The teenager told the court: ‘I just feel like I have matured a lot and I know I won’t be back here again.
‘My parents look at me a bit differently now and ask where I am going, and checking that I am not with the same people.’
The teenager was also ordered to pay £150 compensation to Miss Morris and £620 costs with a £20 victim surcharge.
Presiding magistrate David Broughton said the money would have to be paid within 14 days by the his father who accompanied him to court, but he expected him to pay his parents back.
Mr Broughton added: ‘We have recognised your remorse. We recognise that you realise the actions you did were wrong.
‘Get on with your life. We do not want to see you any more again.’
Four others who admitted using threatening words or behaviour in connection with the attack were each given a 12 month referral orders last November and ordered to pay £100 compensation to their victim, as well as a £20 victim surcharge and £85 prosecution costs.
Miss Morris who is schizophrenic and alcohol dependent gave evidence in a video interview played at the trial last month, saying the attack had left her ‘a bit shell-shocked, a bit raw’.
She said: ‘I don’t know what I did to antagonise them. I wasn’t anticipating it to happen. They got quite aggressive quite quickly. I was more shocked and surprised, I don’t know exactly what I’m supposed to say.’