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Nine-year-old boy sustains neck injury after cycling into rope stretched across path

Kent Police are treating case as attempted grievous bodily harm

A nine-year-old boy has sustained a neck injury after cycling into a rope stretched across a path in woodlands in Kent, causing him to fall off his bike.

Kent Police, who are treating the case as one of attempted grievous bodily harm, are carrying out forensic tests on the rope as part of their investigation.

The incident happened at around 5.30pm on Saturday 19 June in woodlands near Wateringbury Road, East Malling, which is close to Maidstone.

Anyone who has information about the incident is asked to call police on 01622 604100 quoting reference 46/106535/21, or the charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.

Inspector Elizabeth Jones of Kent Police said: “This incident is being investigated as a case of attempted GBH as the child could have sustained far more serious injuries as a result of this callous act. Thankfully his injuries were not more severe.

“In addition to sending the rope for forensic testing PCSOs have been patrolling the area in an effort to deter further offences and also look out for similar hazards.

“It may be that this was a poorly thought-out prank that went wrong and it would be advisable that the person responsible comes forward to explain their actions.”

As we pointed out last month in a report on traps being laid for cyclists in a park in Glasgow, police often use the word “prank” to describe such incidents, even though they are clearly put there in an attempt to cause injury.

> Glasgow “pensioners” admit laying traps for cyclists in park

There is also an assumption at times – not referred to in this instance – that such traps are laid by youths, although when perpetrators have been caught, they often turn out to be far older.

Since the first national lockdown began in March last year, we have seen increasing numbers of reports of booby traps including barbed wire, tree branches and even planks of wood studded with nails being set on trails and paths popular with cyclists.

Last year, press watchdog the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) rejected complaints regarding a column in The Sunday Times by Rod Liddle in which he wrote that he found it “tempting” to “tie piano wire at neck height across the road” to target cyclists, with the regulator saying that the article did not infringe the Editors’ Code of Practice.

> Press watchdog rejects complaints over Rod Liddle “piano wire” column

The Sunday Times had earlier said in response to complaints from the charity Cycling UK, broadcaster Ned Boulting and barrister James M Turner QC, among others, that the column “was not meant to be taken seriously.”

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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42 comments

Avatar
Sriracha | 2 years ago
6 likes

A lot of to and fro about tangential matters. I thought the point of agreement was that it's not right to call large swathes of society scum and vermin. Nor is it right to call for an individual to be taken out and shot, giving pointers to their daily routes and home location. Such bile is not consequence-free. I thought these things were widely accepted.

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Rik Mayals unde... | 2 years ago
2 likes

'Attempted' GBH? He was hurt, it wasn't attempted at all.

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Dave Dave replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 2 years ago
7 likes

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/offences-against-person-incorporat...

GBH is more serious than ABH. This is clear ABH, but hopefully (for the kid's sake) not GBH. The charge can always be upgraded later.

"This incident is being investigated as a case of attempted GBH as the child could have sustained far more serious injuries"

The points there are a) it's being investigated as a deliberate attempt to injure and b) that the degree of assault depends on the injuries actually suffered, which here seem to have been light, so they're looking at the more serious offence of attempting to cause much more serious injuries.

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Captain Badger replied to Dave Dave | 2 years ago
0 likes

Dave Dave wrote:

https://www.cps.gov.uk/legal-guidance/offences-against-person-incorporat...

GBH is more serious than ABH. This is clear ABH, but hopefully (for the kid's sake) not GBH. The charge can always be upgraded later.

"This incident is being investigated as a case of attempted GBH as the child could have sustained far more serious injuries"

The points there are a) it's being investigated as a deliberate attempt to injure and b) that the degree of assault depends on the injuries actually suffered, which here seem to have been light, so they're looking at the more serious offence of attempting to cause much more serious injuries.

The police mentioned that it was attempted GBH. We don't know the extent of the injuries, but GBH can be defined legally as breaking of the skin - so if blood or serum (consistent with a bad rope burn for example) is spilt, it's GBH. So either there was no fluid, or the police are trivialising the case. I'm hoping it's the former, for more than one reason.

Sometimes juries are directed to treat "serious injury" as GBH, I believe that this is to enable broken limbs to be counted where there may not be any blood spilt.

 

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Dave Dave replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

I've covered both your points by a) quoting the police 'mentioning it was attempted GBH', and b) by posting the CPS guidelines about the difference between GBH and ABH (which say you're wrong about that).

Have you considered actually reading the posts you reply to with your venomous responses? It's not your job to chase off commenters here, is it?

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Captain Badger replied to Dave Dave | 2 years ago
8 likes

Dave Dave wrote:

I've covered both your points by a) quoting the police 'mentioning it was attempted GBH', and b) by posting the CPS guidelines about the difference between GBH and ABH (which say you're wrong about that).

Have you considered actually reading the posts you reply to with your venomous responses? It's not your job to chase off commenters here, is it?

Oh dear, there was nothing venomous in what I wrote. It was a comment.

I'm sorry that you feel upset by a comment, please don't feel chased off, there was nothing in my comment to suggest that could have been the intent.

Have a great day.

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Dave Dave replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
1 like

"I'm sorry that you feel upset by a comment, please don't feel chased off, there was nothing in my comment to suggest that could have been the intent."

ROFL. You chase off every newbie, apart from those with extremely thick skins.

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stomec replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
6 likes

Nigel Garrage wrote:

Big shot badge is harmless enough. Give the guy a blue peter badge or something for his lapel though, can only guess he's trying to make up for missing out on the class prizes at school.

Which is an odder comment than usual coming from Comrade Garage.  After hearing from the government about those "white working class kids" who are performing so badly at school I just naturally thought of you...

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Captain Badger replied to Lance ꜱtrongarm | 2 years ago
2 likes

Nigel Garrage wrote:

Big shot badge is harmless enough. Give the guy a blue peter badge or something for his lapel though, can only guess he's trying to make up for missing out on the class prizes at school.

Aaaw cheers Nige, I think that's  the nicest thing you ever said to mebroken heart

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mdavidford replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
3 likes

Venomous badgers? What kind of fearsome beast is this?

It'll be squirrels with stings next.

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Captain Badger replied to mdavidford | 2 years ago
0 likes

mdavidford wrote:

Venomous badgers? What kind of fearsome beast is this?

It'll be squirrels with stings next.

HP is bound to have a snap of that!

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hawkinspeter replied to Captain Badger | 2 years ago
3 likes

Captain Badger wrote:

mdavidford wrote:

Venomous badgers? What kind of fearsome beast is this?

It'll be squirrels with stings next.

HP is bound to have a snap of that!

Ah, the lesser known squirrpion

 

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Captain Badger replied to hawkinspeter | 2 years ago
1 like

hawkinspeter wrote:

.....

Ah, the lesser known squirrpion

 

I knew you wouldn't let me down!

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Rendel Harris replied to Dave Dave | 2 years ago
10 likes

Dave Dave wrote:

Have you considered actually reading the posts you reply to with your venomous responses? It's not your job to chase off commenters here, is it?

Venomous? Seriously? He hasn't said anything at all unpleasant either to you or about you, all he has done is stated his view of the case. How you can classify this as "venomous" is well beyond me.

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Dave Dave replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
1 like

Many/most of his replies are venomous, based on (often apparently deliberate) mis-readings of what people have said.

This one isn't as aggressive as most. It's very passive-aggressive, though, and it's quite clear he was 'correcting' me without having actually read my comment.

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Rendel Harris replied to Dave Dave | 2 years ago
8 likes

Dave Dave wrote:

Many/most of his replies are venomous, based on (often apparently deliberate) mis-readings of what people have said.

This one isn't as aggressive as most. It's very passive-aggressive, though, and it's quite clear he was 'correcting' me without having actually read my comment.

That's simply not true, generally his comments are humorous and the regulars here enjoy interacting with them. I can't think of a single example of a "venomous" comment from him. 

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Captain Badger replied to Rendel Harris | 2 years ago
4 likes

Rendel Harris wrote:

....

That's simply not true, generally his comments are humorous and the regulars here enjoy interacting with them. I can't think of a single example of a "venomous" comment from him. 

Oh stop it Rendel, I'm welling upkiss

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eburtthebike | 2 years ago
5 likes

Good to see that the police are taking it relatively seriously, but astonishing that they would suggest a defence for the perpetrator, the Matthew Paris defence "It was just a joke, and I'm sorry you cyclists don't have a sense of humour."

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Dave Dave replied to eburtthebike | 2 years ago
2 likes

Legally speaking, that is the case, though. If someone strung the rope intending to injure cyclists, it's a really serious crime - attempted GBH. If the rope-stringer was a complete idiot who was reckless with a particularly stupid prank, it's a less serious crime - but they still injured a kid, so aren't going to get away with a slap on the wrist.

As a practical matter, it seems like the kind of threat that might get someone to confess to the lesser crime, where otherwise there isn't much chance of catching anyone.

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wtjs | 2 years ago
11 likes

The police were doing pretty well on this one, until the word 'prank' crept in. Pranks are 'apple pie beds' from ancient 'Just William' stories- these traps are intended to cause serious injury like the plutonium and Novichok 'pranks' beloved of those loveable Russian 'pranksters'. You suspect that all someone would have to say, like the seriously unpleasant shock-jock Liddle (along with the other rabid nutters like Kavanagh, Clarkson, that haggard fashion journo etc.) is 'it was only a joke', can't these cyclists take a joke?' etc. and it would all be forgiven with a 'boys will be boys' and a smile. These trap laying scum are malevolent b*****s.

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ktache replied to wtjs | 2 years ago
3 likes

Polonium, mate, not plutonium.

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brooksby replied to ktache | 2 years ago
1 like

ktache wrote:

Polonium, mate, not plutonium.

Is polonium the one you always make sure to pack when you're visiting historic cathedrals?

(edit) Wait, no - that's novichok, isn't it?  Polonium is the one you use for making "special" cups of tea...  My mistake.

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ktache replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
1 like

I just finished reading "Dead Hand" about the USSRs nuclear stratergies for nukes, including a semi automatic "Doomsday machine", just think almost Dr Strangelove.  They continued very scary Biological weapons long after the treaty said not too, they seemed to presume the US was doing it as well.  (Though that weaponised Anthrax that was posted around the time of 9/11 had to come from somewhere).  Novichok was touched on, as it happened between the hardback and the paperback, means "New Guy", mostly binary, mixing 2 fairly innocuos substances giving one deadly one, which I had not known, would mean components could be seperated for transportation before mixing and use, perhaps in a small south western cathederal city...

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Safety | 2 years ago
6 likes

A poorly thought out prank!!! FFS how can some one with the vocabulary of Jeeves and Wooster and brain the size of a pea be in charge of police press statements?
If this was against a recognized minority group it would called out for what it is, an institutionalized ...ism.

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brooksby | 2 years ago
5 likes

Quote:

“It may be that this was a poorly thought-out prank that went wrong and it would be advisable that the person responsible comes forward to explain their actions.”

I wouldn't hold my breath on that happening...

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andystow replied to brooksby | 2 years ago
5 likes

A generous interpertation of the word "prank": the police are hoping that reference to "forensic testing" will make the perpetrators worried that they will inevitably get caught, while saying that it may be a "poorly thought-out prank" may give them the idea that they can turn themselves in, and if they say they weren't trying to hurt anyone, just get a stern talking to, or a gentle slap on the wrist.

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wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
6 likes

When near misses are ignored eventually injuries occur. The fact the traps left for cyclists and the general police response is along the lines of "tut tut don't prank cyclists' rather than finding the perpetrators and prosecuting.

even with a child seriously injured they are still refering to a "prank"

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hawkinspeter replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
6 likes

What they need to do is start using terrorism legislation for these kinds of traps. Once there's a few 10-20 year sentences given out for nail infested planks etc., people will suddenly be a lot less keen to do it.

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GMBasix replied to wycombewheeler | 2 years ago
5 likes

Sadly, the concept of 'broken windows' policing has been equated as the  'zero tolerance' policing, and put out with the trash as a result.

Minor infractions are dismissed as mistakes we all make; close passes as victimless incidents.  Too many clickbait articles set up news as traps to entice keyboard warriors to take up arms against each other, and the same tired old tropes come out.

Boo! to that sort of thing. I've had enough of it now!

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Rich_cb | 2 years ago
3 likes

So violent 'jokes' can translate into real world violence.

I'm glad road.cc are taking a stand against this sort of thing.

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