Barnstaple man Mark Angell jailed after punching 15-year-old schoolboy
A protective father has been jailed after be attacked an innocent schoolboy in a case of mistaken identity.
Furious Mark Angell rushed to the aid of his 16-year-old daughter after she was harassed by a group of youths but then lashed out at a young passer-by who had nothing to do with the incident.
Angell sprang into action after his daughter rang him on her mobile to say she was being abused by yobs and had taken refuge in a shop in Barnstaple.
The gang had vanished by the time 38-year-old tattooist Angell arrived at the scene on the confrontation in Princess Road, Barnstaple, but saw the 15-year-old victim and assumed he had been involved.
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He left the slightly built schoolboy with a fractured cheekbone after punching him in the face in an unprovoked attack, Exeter Crown Court was told.
Angell, of Belle Meadow Court, Albert Lane, Barnstaple, denied causing actual bodily harm but was found guilty by magistrates in North Devon and his case was transferred to Exeter for sentence.
Judge Francis Gilbert, QC, jailed him for nine months after hearing he has a record of violence which includes three previous offences of battery and one of threatening behaviour.
He told him: "This offence was against a small, slim, young looking 15-year-old who you punched, causing him a black eye and a displaced fracture of the eye socket which must have been very painful and taken several weeks to recover from. You told police you thought he had been hassling your daughter but you made no attempt to find out if it was the correct person before you hit him.
"You claimed to be acting in self defence but for a man of your age, with your record, and bearing in mind he was a just a schoolboy, that is nonsense. Another young person who saw what you did said they were shocked and disgusted that an adult like you would assault a young boy."
Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said the attack happened in August last year when Angell's daughter had called him to say she had fled into a shop because she was being harassed by a group of young men.
He arrived at the scene, near the St John's Ambulance headquarters in Barnstaple, and assumed wrongly that a 15-year-old boy standing on the other side of the road was one of those involved. She said the boy suffered a small fracture to his eye socket but a medical report said he was expected to make a full recovery.
She said the attack was more serious because of the discrepancy in age between Angell and the boy.
Mr Nigel Wraith, defending, said Angell lashed out because he thought the boy was going to hit him. He said: "He had gone from his home to look after his daughter. He was upset and angry about what had been happening to her and he acted out of misguided loyalty. There was only one punch and he wishes the young man no ill will and feels remorse for what he has done. My client has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder which results from an extremely severe childhood."