Two years’ jail for teenage attacker

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50-year-old Go North East driver left bleeding after late night robbery on bus

A teenager who attacked a Go North East bus driver, leaving him injured and bleeding, has been jailed for two years.

Raymond Sommerville was driving a service 69 journey from Winlaton to Wardley late at night when his ordeal began, The Chronicale Live reported.

Teenager Michael Clavering moved from the back seats as the single-decker reached Windy Nook. He elbowed the cab’s security shield full force, demanded cash and caused enough damage to reach through to snatch for the money bag and coin dispenser.

Mr Sommerville, 50, prised his fingers away while another passenger ushered Clavering off the bus. However, the 19-year-old suddenly jumped back on the bus and punched Mr Sommerville in the face, Newcastle Crown Court heard. Gavin Doig, prosecuting, said: “He hit him square on the nose. Mr Sommerville felt immediate pain, he was shocked, and his nose began to bleed profusely.”

Clavering, a resident of Gateshead, fled empty-handed but was arrested soon after the attack on March 26. He told police he had no clear memory of what happened and may have carried out the attack so that he would be taken to prison, the court heard.

Mr Sommerville told of the impact of the violence in a victim personal statement.

“He was off work and had three days without sick pay,” Mr Doig said. “He had been a bus driver for 16 years. He felt sick and shocked by what had happened and suffered a lot of pain.”

Clavering, who was an inpatient at a special unit in Gateshead’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital when he struck, admitted attempted robbery and assault.

Kate Barnes, defending, said the teenager’s troubled background had left him struggling away from the security of institutions and that he had shown “significant shame and remorse” for the offence. Mr Justice Openshaw said only a custodial sentence could follow. He said: “Bus drivers are vulnerable to such incidents. Sentences passed must be sufficient to protect them by deterring others.”