Flashback: A brutal attack, teen crime increases and a boy fighting for his life

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

A look back at the biggest local stories from this day 20, 40 and 60 years ago.

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

1958:

The story of how two boys, aged 14 and 10, “went beserk” in Raphael Park, Romford, and attacked a third boy with “the most brutal, barbarous severity”, forcing him to strip and beating him up viciously, was told in Romford Juvenile Court.

Det Ch Insp V H Cook said: “I saw the 12-year-old lad who was attacked and I can tell you he was a sorry sight.

“I have never seen a lad in such a condition in all my experience.

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

20-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library


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“His bottom was black and blue.

Chairman Mr J Dunn told the 14-year-old: “This is a case of the most brutal barbarous severity, something where you are on the verge of being a first-class thug.”

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Telling the boy he had tried to out-manoeuvre everyone else, Mr Dunn sent him to an approved school for a maximum of three years.

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library

40-years-ago. Picture: Romford Library - Credit: Romford Library

1978:

Police predicted a massive teeny crime boom in the run-up to Christmas.

Officers knew that organised rings of young crooks were operating in Havering and appealed for parents to help smash them.

But the force had a tough job – Ch Insp Mike Jeffers, of Harold Hill, said they sometimes uncovered families where every member was a criminal.

He said there had been a “substantial increase” in juvenile crime over the past few weeks and expected the figures to rise steeply.

Crowded stores loaded with goodies were a big temptation for teams of young thieves who counted the number of shoplifting days to Christmas.

In Romford, more than 1,000 juveniles were arrested each year and two-thirds of all detected crimes were committed by juveniles.

1998:

A devastated couple were calling for witnesses to break out of a circle of fear and come forward, as their son fought for his life in Oldchurch Hospital, Romford.

The 16-year-old was on a life support machine after being brutally beaten up and kicked by a gang of youths in Waterloo Gardens, Romford.

He had an emergency operation to relieve pressure on his brain and another to remove a blood clot.

He was still unconscious and remained on a ventilator.

His condition was described as critical but stable.

His mum, who had to remain anonymous due to legal reasons, said: “We are still in shock.

“We know the police have questioned some youths but they are walking free while our son is lying in hospital.

“I know people saw him being kicked but are frightened to speak up.”

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