Teenager stabbed cyclist after chasing him with pals ‘like a pack of hounds’

A baby-faced thug stabbed a cyclist in the back three times after chasing him with his pals ‘like a pack of hounds’.

Jak Pugh, then aged 16, was standing outside a youth club when he started hurling abuse at Neil Wilkinson as he went past with a friend on a bike ride.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the teenage boys and girls then pursued him “like a pack following their quarry”.

Mr Wilkinson initially thought he had been punched but then realised his shirt was “covered in blood” after the attack in Blyth, Northumberland, in August 2019.

Prosecutor Sam Faulks said the group had shouted abuse as Mr Wilkinson rode by and he stopped to ask them what they had said, before Pugh started “showing off” his knife and the teens gave chase.

Mr Faulks added: “It was a lengthy pursuit and it was a pursuit that was with some conviction by this defendant and his associates.

“It was fast, rather unattractive and deeply unfortunate. We have a lot of hangers-on and quite a lot of girls also in the pursuit.”

Mr Wilkinson said in a statement: “I knew they were chasing me, I looked back and they were right behind me.

“I tried to go as fast as I could but they were already on me.

“It felt like I had been punched three times in the back and I instantly fell off.

“I got to my feet and there were three lads around me. The lad who had showed me the knife was standing there.

“I took my shirt off and it was covered in blood.”

Mr Wilkinson said he was “shocked and afraid” by what happened to him and added: “It is so frightening to think kids that age are in the town centre carrying weapons like that.

“They were sitting outside a youth club, young kids go there.”

The court heard after the attack Pugh and his pals travelled to a building site where he produced the knife again in front of two security officers.

Pugh, of Weardale Avenue, Blyth, admitted wounding with intent and possessing a knife.

He also pleaded guilty to a burglary he carried out in July 2019 where he broke into an upstairs flat and turned the taps on after blocking the sinks and caused a flood which meant the ceiling in the property below collapsed and the resident had to be rehoused.

Pugh admitted racially aggravated harassment after he hurled vile racist abuse at a teenage girl in early 2020 then told her “I am really a racist” when he was challenged.

And he admitted possessing a bladed article and criminal damage in December last year, when he was armed with a machete in the street and started coughing and spitting in a police van until he was sick, after telling officers he had Covid.

Recorder Toby Hedworth QC sentenced Pugh, who is now 18, to a total of five years behind bars with a five-year restraining order to keep him away from his victims after his release.

The judge told Pugh: “Neil Wilkinson was out cycling with a female friend in the early evening.

“A group of youths, of which you were one and became the de facto leader by the way you were conducting yourself, were shouting abuse at him.

“When he stopped to inquire what was being said, you started bragging, questioning whether he had a knife and showing off that you had a silver Stanley knife.

“He, understandably, attempted to get away as quickly as possible but your group, described in my view correctly as a pack, almost like a pack of hounds, went after him, attacking him.

“He felt what what he thought were three punches to his back, in fact it was you using the Stanley knife.

“When he got to his feet he was surrounded.

“These injuries could have been so much more serious. I take the view it was no thanks to you they weren’t any more serious.”

Elizabeth Muir, defending, said Pugh had an “extremely difficult” start to life and spent time in care.

Miss Muir said Pugh was on drugs at the time of his offending and added: “He has no intention of going back to using drugs.

“He doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life in custody. He wants to make a future for himself.”