A teenage girl has been left unable to attend school without support after being set upon by a gang of girls at the Peace Gardens in Preston.
The victim – who can not be identified for legal reasons – had only been in Preston for two weeks when she was dragged to the ground, kicked and punched by the girls she had never spoken to before.
What I am seeing here is young girls behaving like the very worst young boys, fighting with each other, attacking those who don’t fit in and attacking strangers.
Two teenagers – one of whom is expecting a baby at the end of this month and the other who has given birth since the attack – pleaded guilty to causing actual bodily harm.
Jeremy Grout-Smith, prosecuting, told the court the teenager had visited the Peace Gardens on a couple of occasions after arriving in Preston to live with a relative.
But on September 14 she was confronted by a 17-year-old girl, accusing her of being racist. The youngster had never spoken to the girl before and did not understand why she was being targeted.
Mr Grout Smith said: “Suddenly the girl hit her. She punched her to the face up to ten times. She grabbed her and held her by the hair.”
The attacker’s boyfriend – who is now in jail for a separate offence – pulled his girlfriend off the teenager.
But as the youngster walked away the group began chanting and ran towards her as she walked behind the market.
The teenage attacker, who can’t be named for legal reasons, set upon her again and Jade Hodgeon, 18, joined in the attack. The victim was left dizzy and frightened and flagged down a passing police car. She had bruising to her face and had to have time off from college due to anxiety.
Recorder Terry Rigby handed the younger girl – who is now heavily pregnant – a Youth Rehabilitation Order with 12 months supervision.
He told her: “One of the things you are going to have to do is to not get involved with disreputable young men.”
Hodgeon, 18, was handed a suspended sentence with a curfew to be enforced at the mother and baby unit where she lives in Preston.
The judge said: “This is nothing to do with the fact you are pregnant in one case and have just had a baby in the other because I know there is a very large mother and baby unit and secure prison where you could be looked after.
“What I am seeing here is young girls behaving like the very worst young boys, fighting with each other, attacking those who don’t fit in and attacking strangers. Attacking someone who has just come to Preston and who has not done what is needed to fit in with the gang. You just battered her – a very frightened young girl who is still bearing the psychological scars of what you did.”