A 13-YEAR-OLD who robbed a woman, hurled Molotov cocktails, attacked his mother and stole a taxi has been allowed to return home.

The teenager, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court for sentencing.

District Judge Tessa Szagun said she faced a “really difficult decision” about his future and said the boy could have caused far more harm.

She had previously remanded him in custody because of the “danger” he posed to the public.

The boy took a taxi and crashed it on September 9, causing thousands in damage. When he was arrested he was found in possession of a kitchen knife.

Then on September 25 he attacked his mother and damaged their home.

Two days later he committed an armed robbery on a 62-year-old woman in Rottingdean, grabbing her bag and knocking her over.

Earlier in the summer he was caught in possession of a knife with a 20cm blade and an imitation firearm, and he tried to start a fire with a homemade Molotov cocktail.

But after he admitted the offences, Judge Szagun agreed to impose a one-year community order on the boy, who will have to work with probation and social workers to improve his behaviour.

It was revealed the tearaway teen, who may have autism, had been under the influence of other youngsters who he was trying to impress.

The boy said: “This life I have been going along with is not the life I want to live. I don’t want to turn out in jail for life.

“I want to be more responsible and want to change myself in every single way possible. I will do absolutely anything it takes.”

The victim of the robbery offence said: “He jumped on me from behind, when I realised what was happening, I thought somebody must be desperate.

“I hope it has not wrecked his life, he is only 13. I asked myself, what’s happening to this kid to be doing that at his age, it’s not normal, what is his story?

“It has potentially harmed him more than me, but it could have affected someone with anxiety for example, leaving them afraid to go out of their own home.

“A robbery could restrict their freedom. Maybe the boy could reflect on his own loss of freedom and what it is like to have it taken away.”

She said perhaps the teenager did not realise his own strength, and could have caused more serious harm to someone elderly.

The boy volunteered to write her a letter in apology, and to other victims.

Oliver Mackrell, defending, said the boy had served the equivalent of an eight-week prison sentence while awaiting reports, and was attacked by a 17-year-old boy in custody. He found the experience very difficult.

Mr Mackrell said: “A spell in custody is rare for a juvenile, and for a juvenile with autism it is quite exceptional.”

Judge Szagun said she will keep the boy’s progress under review as he left the dock at court.

The boy admitted aggravated vehicle taking, driving without insurance or a licence, criminal damage, failing to stop after a crash, assault, robbery, attempted arson, two counts of possessing a knife in public, and possessing an imitation firearm in public.