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Teenager locked up for bleach attack

Amy Murphy,Press Association
Monday 11 January 2010 12:48 GMT

A teenager who poured bleach over a woman in a revenge attack after she asked him to be quiet in a cinema was locked up for 12 months today.

Jordan Horsley, 16, attacked Annette Warden as she had a meal with her family in a restaurant in Leeds on July 26.

He was annoyed with the mother-of-two after she fetched a member of staff to tell him and his friends to be quiet during a screening of Harry Potter And The Half Blood Prince at the Vue cinema in Kirkstall Road earlier in the day.

Mrs Warden, 46, had to be treated in hospital after the attack, although she was not seriously injured.

The teenager was handed a 12-month detention and training order today at Leeds Crown Court after he was found guilty of attempting to cause Mrs Warden grievous bodily harm with intent.

Sentencing Horsley, the Recorder of Leeds, Judge Peter Collier QC, described the case as "unique".

He said: "On July 26 last year, you were offended because Mrs Warden complained about you when you were making a noise, along with some friends of yours, in the cinema."

The judge continued: "You decided to take your revenge on her and you went to a nearby garage, which had a shop. Initially, you wanted to find some eggs to throw at her but when you couldn't find any, you bought a bottle of Domestos bleach.

"You approached her from behind and squirted the bleach at her from behind."

The court heard Mrs Warden had trouble sleeping since the attack and had been prescribed medication for her nerves.

She told the court in a victim impact statement she was scared to go out alone with her children, without her husband.

The court heard Horsley had a previous conviction for hitting someone over the head with half a brick and had been cautioned for assault on a separate occasion.

The teenager, whose mother died when he was young, had suffered a violent relationship with his father and was living alone at the time of the offence.

Judge Collier said social services had been involved with the family but said matters had not been resolved "satisfactorily".

"You have not been well-served in your life by your father and there must be some concerns as to the intervention that was attempted as you were growing up, which never resolved the issues which you still have," he said.

Horsley was found guilty last month of attempting to cause Mrs Warden grievous bodily harm with intent.

He had admitted causing her actual bodily harm by squirting the liquid over her head but denied the more serious charge.

The trial heard that Mrs Warden asked the group of teenagers to be quiet after their mobile phones kept going off during the film.

She then went to fetch a member of staff who warned the group they could be thrown out if they did not stop making a noise.

After the film, Horsley shouted abuse at Mrs Warden from a car as she entered the Frankie & Benny's restaurant with her husband, John, and her two sons.

The group then drove to a nearby petrol station, where the teenager bought a bottle of Domestos bleach, before driving back to the entertainment complex.

Horsley went into the restaurant and attacked Mrs Warden from behind, squirting the liquid on to the top of her head, before leaving the scene in the car.

The bleach ran down the victim's face and into her eyes, bleaching her hair white and grey and damaging her blouse. Some also hit her husband and one of her sons.

Mrs Warden was taken to hospital, where she was treated with injection freezing and saline.

Horsley denied trying to cause her serious injury and told the court he only wanted to "show up" the woman.

Judge Collier said today that the teenager would serve half of the 12-month detention and training order before being released on licence.

He told Horsley he hoped some of his issues surrounding his family and his emotions would be dealt with during his time in custody.

Speaking after the sentencing, Detective Inspector Neil Thompson, of West Yorkshire Police, said: "Jordan Horsley's actions were utterly vindictive and understandably left people shocked and sickened.

"The victim had made a perfectly reasonable request for him and the group he was with to be quiet during the film. She could never have expected that he would react in such a nasty and violent way.

"The fact he planned the attack and went off and bought the bleach before returning to throw it over her shows how malicious his thinking was that day.

"Although by sheer good luck the victim received no lasting physical injuries, the incident left her very badly traumatised. It will take some considerable time for her and her family to recover from mental scars that the incident has left.

"People in our communities have the right to live without fear of violence or harassment and, as this case demonstrates, we will do all we can to catch and convict those whose behaviour impacts on others."

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