Teenager who attempted to grab Olympic Torch in Gravesend did it "to impress his friends"
A TEENAGER tried to grab the Olympic Torch as it travelled through Gravesend “to impress his friends”, a court heard.
The 17-year-old boy from Gravesend, who cannot be named for legal reasons, sparked fears of a terrorist attack when he launched himself from the crowd shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ as the torch was paraded along Rochester Road at 9.55am on July 21.
‘Allahu Akbar’ is Arabic for ‘God is great’.
Dartford Youth Court heard today (August 14) how the teenager shouted it because he had heard it on the television.
Prosecutor Matthew Quantrill said: “He had nothing else to say and admitted he was a complete idiot for doing it.
“He had no plan to grab the torch at the start of the day but thought it would be funny to do so – it was the first time that idea had come into his head.
“He had no other motivation other than to impress his friends.”
The teenager, who lives at home with his parents, pleaded guilty to common assault, assaulting a police officer and using threatening and abusive language.
Magistrates heard how the Olympic Torch hit the head of a Met Police officer as he went to intercept the youngster after he charged into the road.
Although the officer suffered graze and burn marks to the head, he was not seriously injured.
Polish torchbearer Anna Skora, who was holding the flame at the time, was also uninjured and continued to parade the torch towards Gravesend town centre.
Defending the youth, Wayne Crowhurst said: “He doesn’t get out of the house very often - he spends most time at home on his computer.
“He’s not sure why on earth he did what he did it, maybe the emotion affected him more than most.”
Chairman of the magistrates bench Nicholas Allen sentenced the teenager to a four-month referral order, suggesting he could write a letter of apology to Miss Skora – he must also pay her £100 in compensation.
A further £100 must be paid to the police officer he assaulted as well as £85 towards prosecution costs.