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Torquay teenager feared for his life after 'prank' went wrong

By HeraldExpress  |  Posted: November 28, 2012

Scales of Justice

A TEENAGER feared he was ‘going to die’ when two youths wearing balaclavas jumped out of a car and bundled him into the boot.

The 13-year-old was walking down the street in Torquay when the car pulled up beside him and the youths jumped out.

Newton Abbot youth court was told that, unknown to the victim, the two masked youths were in fact his friends and were acting out a practical joke but the prank went wrong and the terrified youngster was plunged into the darkness of the boot and driven away.

The victim later told police: “I didn’t know what was happening. My heart was racing, It was a bit like a movie. I thought I was going to die.”

When the car stopped a few moments later the two youths took off their balaclavas, released their victim and revealed their identities. Later the still shocked victim went home to tell his family and police charged the 14-year-olds with kidnap, but magistrates were told that after discussions with the families and police and the ‘building of bridges’ the two youths were charged with assault.

Both pleaded guilty at the sentencing hearing.

The incident happened in October. The court was told the defendants had hatched the idea after a day spent paintballing and go-karting with one other youth and his father.

Prosecutor Chris Bittlestone said: “The victim was walking along minding his own business when a black car comes to a halt. Out of the car came gentlemen wearing balaclavas. They didn’t identify themselves and forcefully and against his will put him in the back of the car in the boot.”

The court was told the car was driven by the father of the third youth, who was not in court.

Alistair James, defending one of the youths, said the father had been ‘over indulgent’ to his son and things had got out of hand as a result. He said that his client deeply regretted what had happened and had ambitions to join the police.

Paul Dentith, defending the second youth, said the incident was clearly a ‘prank that had gone wrong’. Magistrates imposed six month referral orders on both youths, whose identities cannot be revealed. They were both ordered to pay compensation of £50 to the victim, costs of £30 and a victim surcharge of £15.