St Leonards mum’s anger at police investigation into assault on son, 13

A mum from St Leonards has complained to Sussex Police for what she claimed was a ‘completely unacceptable’ investigation into an alleged assault on her 13-year-old son.

Tuesday, 13th April 2021, 3:44 pm
Updated Wednesday, 14th April 2021, 2:01 pm
Sussex Police
Sussex Police

Jamie Grainger was walking along Hillside Road, St Leonards, on his way home from school at about 3.15pm on March 24 when he was verbally and physically assaulted, according to a report received by police.

His mum Natasha Stewart said Jamie, who was walking with five other friends at the time, had found a scooter abandoned in a ditch shortly before the reported assault. Jamie picked up the scooter and rode it up and down the road a couple of times, according to Natasha, before placing it back where he found it.

He said he heard a man shouting but ignored him. The man caught up with him and dragged him to the ground, while asking Jamie to give him his name, claims his mum.

Friends of Jamie filmed the incident, which was eventually brought to an end by some passing sixth formers and builders who had been working nearby.

It was reported to the police in the evening. Two officers went to Natasha’s home and took a statement from Jamie as well as pictures and video of the incident. Natasha said her son’s school – Ark Alexandra Academy – also took statements from the students who witnessed the incident, and collected the video footage they had taken. Natasha claimed this evidence was never collected by the police.

Natasha received a call from the police on March 27 who told her the man who allegedly assaulted her son had been released with a formal police caution for the offence of assault by beating. In a letter to her son, police said the man had been interviewed voluntarily, during which he apologised ‘a number of times for his action on the day of the incident’.

Natasha said: “I was told other than making a complaint there was nothing else that I can do.

“I find it completely unacceptable that he was interviewed without the police getting back to the witnesses whom have reported it and wanted to make statements, and without the police collecting the evidence that the school had. I will not accept that a caution is the correct legal punishment, without a thorough investigation with all of the evidence available to them.”

Sussex Police said the incident was ‘thoroughly investigated’.

A spokesman added: “Police received a report of a verbal and physical assault involving a man and a 13-year-old boy in Hillside Road, St Leonards, between 3.15 and 3.45pm on Wednesday, 24 March.

“The matter was thoroughly investigated, which included eye witness reports, a voluntary interview and the review of video footage.

“Each investigation is taken on merit and officers concluded the most suitable police action was to issue the man, who offered to write a letter of apology to the victim, with a police caution.”

Natasha made a complaint to Chief Constable Jo Shiner on March 31 and was told she would receive a response within 14 working days.

She also wrote to Hastings and Rye MP Sally-Ann Hart who said she would contact Sussex Police ‘about their handling of this incident’. Mrs Hart refused to comment on this article.