Portsmouth father faces jail after youth attack

FACING JAIL James Barnard
FACING JAIL James Barnard
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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A DAD-OF-TWO who repeatedly complained to the police about a gang of youths causing trouble ending up snapping and attacking one of them with a bottle.

James Barnard says he felt let down over the problems his family were going through so took matters into his own hands.

Angry that his children couldn’t sleep because of the noise the 26-year-old spoke to the group of 15 teenagers who were hanging around outside his home in Kingston Road, Buckland, Portsmouth, and banging on his door.

But the conversation turned nasty and Barnard grabbed an empty vodka bottle from a skip, smashed it on a wall and rammed it into the face of a 15-year-old boy who was sat down, playing on his phone.

Prosecutor Martyn Booth said he thrust the bottle in the boy’s face a number of times before one of the youngster’s friends tackled him to the ground and kicked him in the head.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was left needing 18 stitches to a cut to his face, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.

Barnard has been warned he faces jail when he is sentenced for the attack.

Duncan Cooke, defending, said Barnard was at home at about 10.30pm with his partner Katrina Lloyd and two children, a seven-month-old baby and a two-year-old, when the trouble started outside.

He said the couple had called the police a number of times to complain about the gang in the months before the incident.

‘There were 12 other calls to the police from members of the public about this group of lads,’ he said. ‘The defendant has certainly had a history of problems from a group of young men over a significant period of time.

‘One of the problems the defendant had was a lack of a response from the police when he called them.’

He added: ‘He was faced with a hostile group and he accepts that he overreacted.

‘If one takes into account the problems that he has had with this group for over a year and the fact that he had called the police, he says on 10 occasions, and had no response, that is bound to cause anyone frustration.’

Barnard pleaded guilty to assault causing grievous bodily harm following the attack in January.

Mr Cooke asked for the case to be adjourned for a psychiatric report to be carried out after the judge said he was facing jail.

Recorder Jonathan Fuller QC agreed to adjourn the case until January and released Barnard on bail.