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Soldier jailed for six years for attack on Bexhill teenager
1:15pm Monday 30th July 2012 in News
A soldier has been jailed for six years for punching teenager Mo Bourner after a beach party in Bexhill.
Ashley Dacosta was secretly recorded bragging at his Coldstream Guards barracks that he had targeted the 15-year-old because he was black.
Hove Crown Court was told yesterday that Mo suffered brain damage so severe he will never be able to live an independent life.
Dacosta, of Silvester Road, Bexhill, admitted carrying out a racially aggravated assault causing grievous bodily harm shortly after midnight on October 29 last year.
He and a second man, Jack Carrick, 25, of Manor Road, Bexhill, denied conspiring to pervert the course of justice at an eight-day trial this month. Carrick was jailed for two years.
During the attack in De La Warr Parade, Mo hit his head on a car as he fell to the ground which had "devastating consequences" for the teenager, Sussex Police said.
Statement from the family of Mo BournerAshley Dacosta handed our son, Mo, a sentence of pain, frustration and anger for the rest of his life.
Dacosta, who is from Bexhill, East Sussex, but was based at Victoria Barracks, Windsor, at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty in June to racially motivated grievous bodily harm against Mo.
Judge Charles Kemp told Dacosta as he sentenced him at Hove Crown Court today that nothing he did would be a comfort to Mo or his family as the teenager would never be able to lead an independent life.
He said: "On the night of the beach party before you delivered the punch that left Mo with catastrophic brain injuries you were seen to be drunk, aggressive and abusive towards other young teenagers.
"Then recordings in your barracks revealed racist and repugnant comments that proved your attack on Mo was racially motivated."
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Sloan, who led the investigation, said: "The single punch to Mo Bourner has had devastating consequences.
"Nine months on from this senseless act we hope that the justice laid down will bring some relief to Mo and his family who have been in our thoughts throughout this complex investigation.
"Mo, a vivacious teenager was struck down in an unprovoked attack on his way home from a beach party. He has made significant progress but he how lives with serious life changing injuries.
"His courage and that of his parents, Peter and Rhama Bourner, has been immeasurable as they have encouraged witnesses to come speak up about what happened that night.
"I cannot thank people enough for bravely coming forward to tell us what they saw and heard before, during and after the assault. We gave our utmost assurance that the information they gave - in a variety of ways - would be in the strictest confidence.
"One name was given to us repeatedly - that of Ashley Dacosta - and I was heartened that people courageously came forward with the evidence we needed. This has truly been a team effort in bringing Ashley Dacosta to justice."
Mo's family thanked Sussex Police for their "tireless hard work" in bringing Dacosta and Carrick to justice.
A family statement said: "Early on we knew that justice in any form could never bring our son back to normal, yet he has defied medical expectations for eight months now, surviving 90% brain damage and two life-saving operations.
"With a huge effort from Mo and those around him he continues to improve and shine bright. For us this is our justice.
"Mo's story has the potential to affect the thinking and actions of others which could stop this sort of violent crime happening again.
"Ashley Dacosta handed our son, Mo, a sentence of pain, frustration and anger for the rest of his life.
"Any length of sentencing seems lenient but our hope is that it will keep Ashley Dacosta from committing such a despicable crime again. We are relieved such a dangerous individual is no longer on our streets."
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