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Legal high boy tried to snatch baby

A teenager who took a legal high and tried to snatch a baby from a pram was convinced he would die if he did not get hold of the infant, a court has heard.

The 16-year-old had taken the substance salvia with a friend and very quickly began to have extreme feelings of paranoia and "lost all semblance of reality". He admitted one charge of common assault before South East Northumberland magistrates.

The court heard that the mother of the child was walking with her 14-month-old in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, Northumberland, when she saw the boy slumped over a bollard. She went over to ask if he needed help and he looked at her and said he was dying. She asked if she could ring someone for him and he then attempted to grab her.

Mr James Long, prosecuting, said: "She pushed him away and he then turned his attention to the pushchair. He grabbed the baby by both arms and was pulling it with a lot of force. The mother started to shout for help and a number of people started to assist. They got the male off the baby and took him to the ground. But he managed to get back up and immediately lunged for the buggy again.

"He managed to pull it with such force that the buggy tipped over and it rolled over and the baby ended up face down. "He then jumped onto the buggy and tried to reach down under the buggy and grab the baby from under it. He was pushing and punching as about four people tried to pull him off. They managed to get him off and then the mother ran away with the buggy."

South East Northumberland Magistrates' Court heard that she was then able to seek refuge in a shop and the police were called. In a statement the mother said she had been left shocked by his strength as well as "the rage in his eyes."

Graham Crouth, defending, said fortunately the baby had been left with only minor injuries. He said the teenager had never been in trouble before and felt real remorse for what had happened, adding: "Having taken this with his friend, within a short space of time he had lost all semblance of reality," he said. "The pavement was strange and moving around, he was sick and had extreme feelings of paranoia. He thought he was going to die.

"It felt as if he was living in a video game. He remembers thinking that he wouldn't die if he could hold the baby. That was what his mind was telling him. When people tried to pull him away those thoughts kept going through his head, that he was going to die if he did not hold the baby.

"He feels real remorse for his actions. He had no idea the reaction was going to be what it was. He has learned his lesson, I would not expect him to go near drugs either legal or not legal ever again in his life."

The chairman of the bench Mr Skinner said the incident, that happened earlier this month, had been distressing and the substance had produced extreme side effects. He ordered the teenager to complete a nine-month referral order with the youth offending team, pay £150 compensation and a £10 victim surcharge.