Leader of gang that viciously attacked Latvian boy avoids jail

Daniel Hunter leaving Teesside Crown Court.

Daniel Hunter leaving Teesside Crown Court.

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A VIOLENT leader of a gang which viciously attacked a teenager leaving him unconscious and bleeding in the street has escaped jail.

Daniel Hunter, 19, attacked the 16-year-old Lativian boy leaving him in such a bad state that doctors feared he had suffered brain damage.

The victim was walking home in Hartlepool late at night when he was set upon by Hunter and four other yobs in April last year.

He was taken to hospital where he spent hours alone because his non-English speaking mum could not communicate with police when he failed to return home.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Hunter jumped on his back and knocked him to the floor before he was kicked and punched unconscious.

Two members of the public ran to help and chased away the cruel gang before calling police and paramedics to the scene of the attack in West View Road.

As he slipped in and out of consciousness, the terrified youngster opened an eye and said to one witness: “Please don’t hit me again.”

When police arrested Hunter, he had blood on his trainers and tracksuit bottoms, and said he would stab the victim next time he saw him.

Hunter walked from court with a 12-month suspended prison sentence, 100 hours of unpaid work, £200 compensation and supervision.

Magistrates previously gave two 17-year-olds youth rehabilitation orders while another two escaped prosecution altogether because of witness difficulties.

Judge George George Armstrong told Hunter, who admitted actual bodily harm assault: “Had it not been for the sentences passed on the others, I think I would have sent you away today because this was a serious attack.”

The boy was in hospital for three days while doctors carried out X-rays and scans on his skull and brain, said prosecutor Sue Jacobs.

Paul Cleasby, mitigating, argued that Hunter, of Marine Drive, Hartlepool, should be dealt with in a similar way to the other yobs.

He said his client’s probation report made “depressing reading” but said the one positive was that he had not been in trouble since.

Hunter had, however, appeared in court just 11 days before the attack and was on two orders imposed by magistrates at the time.

Mr Cleasby admitted: “There is nothing I can say to mitigate the offence. It was a disgusting episode.”