Woman who hit 12-year-old black boy with paddle in Bristol admits she was assaulted

<span>Photograph: Charles Stirling/Alamy</span>” src=”https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/_wMymavDUPGZKby7aLMmEg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/0b09e32887148047663ce825b36d” data-ebs7rc=d”data-ebs7rc=d” “https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/_wMymavDUPGZKby7aLMmEg–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/https://media.zenfs.com/en/theguardian_763/0b09e32887148047663ce82b36eb975d/”></div>
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A woman who hit a 12-year-old black boy in the forehead with a paddle in a riverside park with such force that he was left scarred has admitted to real bodily harm, but insisted on the that the attack was not racially motivated.

Police have come under fire after Fay Johnson, 32, attacked the boy as she was initially not prosecuted after claiming she acted in self-defense and felt ‘threatened’ by the young.

It wasn’t until activists and relatives of the 12-year-old posted images of his bloodied head on social media and questioned why Johnson had clashed with him rather than his white friends that the Avon and Somerset police began a review, reclassifying the incident as racist. and apologized.

Johnson, from Yate in South Gloucestershire, who at the time worked for a luxury car dealership, looked tearful in the dock at Bristol Magistrates’ Court as she admitted the assault . She will be sentenced in court in Bristol next month and could be jailed.

The incident happened in a riverside park on the outskirts of Bristol on March 26 when the boy met a group of friends for a birthday party.

Some children reportedly threw mudballs at passing boats, including one paddled by Johnson. She hit the boy in the forehead with her paddle, leaving him bleeding from a 1cm wound that was to be glued to the hospital.

Steve George, defending, successfully petitioned the court to ban publication of Johnson’s full address because she received death threats. He said: “The defendant fears that if her address is published, she and her young children would be at risk of death or serious injury.”

The court was told that in the aftermath of the attack, Johnson was accused on social media of being racist and threatened.

George told the court that those who threatened her were working on “the mistaken impression that it was racially motivated”. He said his client’s “significant fear” was about her children and revealed one of them had to move house because of the threats.

Outside court, family members of the victim told the Guardian he remained traumatised. “Every time he looks in the mirror he sees the scar and remembers what happened,” one said. “He’s a quiet kid who wouldn’t hurt anyone and wants to get this over with.”

The family expressed concern that Johnson had faced threats and grief for what his children were going through. But they criticized the police handling of the case. “What they did was terrible. They even gave him [Johnson] an elevator at home.

The prosecution did not open the facts of the case to District Judge Lynne Matthews on Thursday.

The boy’s family have previously described how, three weeks after the attack, a letter arrived from the police telling them that no further action would be taken.

He explained: “The main reason is that during the interview the suspect raised a possibility of self-defence. The suspect claimed… that she felt threatened by [the boy] and the surrounding group.

After the outcry, police looked back and said, “We have reclassified this incident as racially motivated and we have a detective sergeant leading [the] examination, under the supervision of a senior officer.

Ahead of Johnson’s court appearance, ward Ch Insp Mike Buck said, “We have listened to the concerns of the family and the community…and conducted a further investigation.”

Johnson was released on bail and will be sentenced on January 12.

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