Teenagers admit dog walker attack

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TWO teenage boys have admitted savagely beating a man out walking his dog in Heckmondwike town centre.

The 17-year-olds, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to grievous bodily harm at Leeds Crown Court on Monday.

Their victim Kevin Wood, 34, has been left permanently brain damaged and is still in hospital following the attack on October 16 last year. The court heard his mother has had to move house and adapt her new home in order to care for her son.

After the attack Mr Wood, who had been walking his dog, lay for up to six hours slumped on the steps outside Lidl in Northgate before he was spotted.

He was seen by a man on his way to work, who raised the alarm when he spotted someone covered by a coat.

He initially thought the man was asleep so he boarded his bus, but a few minutes later he got off and took a taxi back to the scene where Mr Wood was lying.

He found him covered in blood and called an ambulance.

It is believed Mr Wood’s dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, had stayed by his side during the freezing cold night until help arrived the next morning.

Mr Wood was taken to Leeds General Infirmary’s neurological unit where he remained in a critical condition for more than a week.

A forensic tent was put up at the scene and the two defendants were arrested later that day after a police search.

Recorder Richard Mansell QC said after the attack the two defendants had been sending text messages to friends asking them to say Mr Wood had assaulted them first.

And one even got the other to punch him in the face to make it appear as though Mr Wood had instigated the attack and had also injured them.

Judge Mansell said: “Mr Wood’s injuries at the time were life threatening and now they are life altering. He faces a lifetime of disability and dependency as a result of his very serious brain injuries.”

The pair were originally set to plead not guilty and a three day trial was listed to start on Monday. But they changed their plea to guilty on Monday morning, meaning a trial did not have to go ahead.

Mr Wood’s distressed family did not want to speak to the press following the short hearing.

The defendants, who were 16 and 17 at the time of the attack, will be sentenced on April 4.