19-year-old broke schoolboys jaw in ambush outside B&M near Preston Bus Station

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A schoolboy was left with a fractured jaw after being attacked by youths outside a Preston supermarket.

The 14-year-old was set on by two members of a six-strong gang who laid in wait for him while he was shopping with his girlfriend.

One of the group is now serving a 20-month prison sentence for the assault, Judge Richard Archer was told at the city’s Crown Court.

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But the second attacker, 19-year-old Cameron Higham, was spared jail by Judge Archer despite throwing the first punch.

Higham, from St Paul’s Square, Preston, pleaded guilty to inflicting grievous bodily harm on the youngster in January 2023.

The schoolboy was accosted by the gang and attacked outside B&M off Ringway in PrestonThe schoolboy was accosted by the gang and attacked outside B&M off Ringway in Preston
The schoolboy was accosted by the gang and attacked outside B&M off Ringway in Preston | Submitted

Olivia Brooksbank-Laing, prosecuting, said Higham was only 17 when the assault took place. The other attacker was older and had previous convictions for violence.

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The court was told the schoolboy was with his girlfriend at a B&M supermarket in the city buying food when six youths tried to gain entry to the store. They were ordered to leave but remained outside waiting for the youngster to come out.

When he did Higham challenged him about a previous dispute involving a girl and punched him to the left side of his face. The boy rocked back and then lurched forward with his hands to his face before the other youth stepped in and punched him twice more.

Attack filmed and shared on social media

Part of the incident was captured on a mobile phone camera by one of the gang and the video was later circulated to children at the boy’s school.

The youngster suffered reddening around one eye and a swelling on the left side of his face.

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Security staff stepped in and the group ran off. A member of the public gave the boy and his girlfriend a lift home to make sure they were safe.

The boy went to school the following morning, but later had to go to hospital with pains in his jaw and blurred vision. X-rays showed he had fractures to the left side of his jaw.

Higham was arrested at home and made “no comment” answers to all questions in interview.

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The court was told that after the video was circulated around school it affected the boy’s confidence. The prosecution said the offence was made more serious because of the victim’s age and the fact that other children were present.

Barrister Claire Larton, defending, said Higham had been staying temporarily with his father and three of his five siblings, but had been told outside court before the case that he could no longer live there.

Instead he had an offer to stay with his girlfriend’s older sister and her family in Clayton-le-Moors near Accrington. “He has somewhere to go and has a very supportive group of people around him,” she said.

“His girlfriend’s father sees a little of him in him (at that age) – going off the rails – and he wants to help. He has not had any real guidance and support until now.” She added that Higham was “very immature and very vulnerable.”

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Judge Archer said: “You punched him (the schoolboy) in the face. He hadn’t done anything to you, he was offering you no violence.

“He was 14 and you were 17 years and nine months old. So whilst in the eyes of the law you were both children, he was significantly younger than you.

“It may seem odd that he (the other attacker) received a custodial sentence and you didn’t. But he was older than you.”

The judge added that the focus of the law for under-18s “should be on rehabilitation and not punishment.”

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He went on: “It is a serious offence in which a young boy received a fractured jaw. If I send you to prison I will expose you to others who are older than you.

“As an adult you would have gone to prison, just as he (the other attacker) has.”

Judge Archer gave Higham a community order for two years which requires him to attend 30 rehabilitation activity days. He also ordered him to complete 60 hours of unpaid work.

He was told that if he breached the order he would face prison. The judge also ordered a residential condition for him to live with the family in Clayton-le-Moors.

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