Teen jailed after stabbing

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A teenager who stabbed an off duty policeman in the face with a metal comb has been jailed for 18 months .

A court heard how Riccardo Bater-James used such force that a tooth from the comb pierced through the officer’s cheek into his mouth.

The attack happened on board a late night train and was prompted after off duty officer Jim Morrison saw 18-year-old Bater-James light up a cannabis joint.

Luton Crown Court heard how he and another man remonstrated with him, telling he couldn’t smoke.

But the defendant’s reply was “Oh can’t I? I can do what I want”

When the other passenger tried to reason with the defendant he said “I can do what I f...... want!

Harry Snook, prosecuting, said Mr Morrison got to his feet, sensing there might be trouble.

He then snatched the joint from the defendant, who became angry and abusive.

By the time the Luton to Bedford train reached Flitwick Railway Station the defendant was at “boiling point”, said Mr Snook.

Mr Morrison noticed Bater-James had something “silvery” in his hand and, after telling him to calm down, was suddenly punched in the side of his face.

In the struggle that followed Mr Snook said Bater-James bit the officer on the forearm as he was being held on the ground.

At that stage Mr Morrison felt something protruding from his cheek, the court was told.

It turned out to be a prong that had broken away from the metal comb as a result of the stab attack.

Said Mr Snook: “Mr Morrison realised something was sticking out of his face and he saw the defendant had a silver Afro comb with a prong missing.

“It had pierced his cheek and entered his mouth.”

The court heard the officer was able to pull the prong out of his left cheek.

He then managed to get the defendant into another carriage.Fellow passengers in the carriage, including the victim’s girlfriend, saw the violence.

Bater-James, of Richbell Court Bedford, appeared at the court on Tuesday for sentence. He had been found guilty earlier of assaulting Mr Morrison occasioning him actual bodily harm.

The attack happened on the night of November 1 last year as Mr Morrison and his girlfriend travelled home from a night out in London.

Mr Snook said the carriage was busy with many people coming out of the capital that night and the atmosphere was jovial.

However, after the defendant got on the train at Luton the atmosphere changed.

Bater-James, the court was told, had previous convictions for violence as a young teenager.

Alex Britton, defending, said his client had not been convicted over the past four years.

Mr Britton also played down the seriousness of the police officer’s injury.

He said Mr Morrison had not needed much in the way of medical treatment and the cut inside his mouth was left to heal itself.

Mr Britton told the court the defendant was now remorseful for what he’d done that night.

He promised he would now walk away if a similar situation arose in the future.

Recorder Clive Broe sentenced Bater-James to 18 months in a young offenders’ institute, telling him: “You punched the victim in the face with such force that a long metal comb you had in your hand penetrated his cheek.”