'Posh turf war' teens spared jail because they wouldn't cope in prison


A group of friends who beat up a teenager in a turf war between two towns in Oxfordshire have been spared jail.

Kieran Clifton, 19, dragged his victim, 17, out of his car and beat him while shouting ‘you’re going to be unrecognisable after this’ and ‘do you want to stab me?’

He was joined in the attack by Se Smith, 18, Daniel Clifford, 22, and Joshua Campbell, 19. The group had been drinking Amaretto together throughout the day at the Fat Fox in Watlington.

They had been informed that the victim, identified as being one of the ‘Thame lot’ from 10 miles away, was on his way to Co-op in Watlington.

Clifton started the attack because he believed his girlfriend of four years had dumped him because of the victim.

He ran towards him shouting ‘get out of the f**king car. I’m going to smash your head in.’

However, his bravado slipped when he arrived in court with his lawyer Jane Brady telling Judge Nigel Daly at Oxford Crown Court: ‘It is fair to say he is absolutely terrified of going inside.

‘His mother would have concerns about her son’s ability to cope in such an environment.’

Clifford was praised by his own lawyer for having abstained from cocaine for two weeks ahead of being sentenced. Previously he spent £400 a week on cocaine and cannabis.

Campbell’s lawyer said he should not be jailed because ‘he feels rehabilitated already’.

Meanwhile Smith’s lawyer said he ‘absolutely regrets the decisions that were taken and what unfolded.’

Judge Daly said: ‘This is a group incident on a single young man who was totally unable to protect himself.

‘He was dragged from a car, kicked and punched and suffered significant injury – bruising, damage to his teeth, needed to be on crutches for a week.

‘For some reason, this young man was deliberately targeted. Perhaps because he came from Thame and you four came from Watlington and there had been bad blood between the two factions.’

Turning to Clifton he said: ‘You accepted being significantly involved in violence, you played a leading role in what went on. You have not accepted that you have any issues with drinking. Drink, in my view, played a significant part.

‘Drinking Coca Cola and Amaretto? I’m surprised you were not sick!’

Clifton, Campbell and Clifford were given 12-month prison terms suspended for a year.

Smith was jailed for eight months, suspended for a year.

They were all given community service and ordered to pay a total of £3,000 in court costs and compensation.

Judge Daly concluded: ‘You better mend your ways. It has been 18 months since this has happened. It would appear that each of you stands to have a good chance at rehabilitation.

‘This has been your last chance. Appear before me again and you know exactly where you’re going.’