Page last updated at 19:33 GMT, Monday, 14 July 2008 20:33 UK

Man who confronted gang cleared

A senior health worker who challenged a gang of anti-social underage drinkers with a stick has been cleared of taking the law into his own hands.

Former army corporal Benjamin Littlewood-Hillsdon saw the youths vault his fence in Weston-super-Mare.

The 34-year-old and his brother-in-law intended only to hold the three 16-year-olds until police arrived.

Bristol Crown Court cleared the men of two counts of causing actual bodily harm and one of causing GBH.

After seeing the youths grappling with his 23-year-old relative, Mr Littlewood-Hillsdon hit out with his stick in self-defence and pulled the teenagers away.

He'll get over it - Gordon Brown's only got one eye
Judge David Ticehurst

He then called the police but when officers turned up after two hours it was to arrest the pair who found themselves on trial for assaulting the gang.

That left him feeling "let down" by the force, he said.

After the case Mr Littlewood-Hillsdon added: "I feel very relieved and grateful to the jury."

The court heard one of the boys, Joshua Morris, now 17, had lost the sight in one eye after the incident.

The jury were quick to clear the defendants, both of Berkeley Crescent, Uphill, of all blame.

Judge David Ticehurst told the teenager's mother: "He'll get over it - Gordon Brown's only got one eye."

Another of the youths, also 17, who cannot be named, will be sentenced later this year for an attack on a plumber who told a gang to stop urinating in the street.

That attack took place 10 months after the incident involving Mr Littlewood-Hillsdon.

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