A TEENAGE girl who squirted bleach in the faces of two police officers has been allowed to walk free from court.

The 17-year-old could have faced a life prison sentence if she was just a month older.

But yesterday she was told just to promise that she will behave in future after the attack - which one of the officers described as the worst of his career.

Two officers were called to help the girl who was threatening to hurt herself when they were faced with a deliberate attack.

They were squirted with corrosive bleach that could have left them blinded or seriously burnt.

However Worthing Youth Court sent her home with a referral order - meaning she just has to sign a contract promising to behave in future.

The court also rejected The Argus’S application to name the girl in the public interest of deterring youngsters from committing similar attacks.

Sussex Police and the Police Federation, which represents rank and file officers, both condemned the assaults.

Constables Scott Parry and Alistair Large were called to help the girl in Burgess Hill on Boxing Day when she flew into a rage.

She squirted them in the mouth with the bleach. She then locked herself in a bathroom before kicking a hole in the door and trying to squirt them both for a second time through the hole.

PC Parry said: “I started to speak to her and the response I received was very loud screaming.

“After a few minutes’ screaming she opened the door and had in her hand a yellow bleach bottle.

“She came forward and sprayed me. She was about one metre away. It hit me in the face and head and went down the back of my neck.

“I could immediately smell it was bleach.

“If it had gone in my eyes it would have caused serious damage.

“I was very conscious she still had the bottle of bleach.

“She started to break through the door. She kicked through the door several times. I asked her to stop and calm down. Then her hand came through the hole with the bottle of bleach and she was trying to spray us again. I kicked the bottle out of her hand and PC Large took hold of her right hand. I suffered a burning sensation to my face, soreness and redness to my hands.”

PC Large said: “I have been a police officer for 14 years and in that time I have never suffered such serious unprovoked violence towards me.

“I believe it was only luck that we were not more seriously hurt.”

She deliberately aimed the bottle at PC Parry and it struck him in the face.

He turned away to protect himself and then she sprayed again in his direction.

PC Large added: “I felt it on my face and hands. I honestly believe she was intent on causing PC Parry and I immediate harm.

“My hand was feeling sore and I felt a burning sensation.

“Whilst on the way to Crawley police station I felt a burning sensation around my knees .After the assault my hands suffered a mile irritation and the skin was peeling.”

The girl pleaded guilty to two counts of using corrosive substance with intent to cause GBH and criminal damage to the door she kicked a hole in.

Diane Lane, the girl’s defence solicitor, said she was “extremely sorry for her actions”.

Chairman of the magistrates Michael Hunsworth said: “Your actions were extremely dangerous and all of us can only be thankful the injuries were not more serious.”

But he told her instead of a prison sentence she would be given a referral order, meaning she still needs to meet with a Youth Offending service panel and promise to behave in future.

Mr Hunsworth refused to even hear The Argus’s application to name the girl, saying “no chance” before even hearing our case.

He went on to say that “she is a very vulnerable young lady and it would not be in anyone’s interest to identify her”.

Matt Webb, chairman of Sussex Police Federation, condemned the attack.

He said: “These are police officers going about their duty to uphold the law and protect the weak and look after vulnerable people.

“It is very disappointing the level of sentencing in this case doesn’t reflect that.

“Obviously if she was having some kind of mental health crisis then she needs support but mental health support shouldn’t only fall to police officers.”

A Sussex Police spokesperson said: “Policing can be a dangerous and unpredictable job but being assaulted must never be seen as an acceptable part of it.

“These officers were out on the frontline protecting the public and this often means helping them at times when they are going through or find themselves in challenging or difficult situations, like this case.

“While distressing, this does not give anyone the right to physically or verbally assault our officers or staff.

“We make sure officers are looked after with the same level of care and focus a member of the public would receive when this happens.”


THERE are certainly plenty of tough jobs out there many of us would never want to do.

Police officers spring to mind. Putting their lives on the line every day to serve, protect and help build a better society.

Medical staff too who spend their working hours desperately trying to save lives. And firefighters who run into burning buildings to pluck people to safety.

Judges too have a tough job. Deciding the best course of action when it comes to sentencing offenders. Action that can shape the entire lives of those convicted.

Yesterday in court we heard about a teenage girl, just a few weeks away from adulthood, who squirted bleach at two police officers who were their to help.

Corrosive liquids are fast becoming the weapon of choice. Cheap, legal and easy to conceal. The amount of acid and bleach attacks has rocketed over the past few years in the UK.

It’s a terrifying concern.

Yesterday a judge deemed the best course of action to punish the woman, sorry girl, responsible was a referral order.

Now maybe she will learn her lesson and use this as a reason never to misbehave in the future. We sure hope its a turning point in her life and the judge responsible for her sentence has got this case spot on.

And we hope the two police officers who were nearly blinded by this assault have also learned a valuable lesson, a lesson they can pass onto their hardworking and dedicated colleagues.