John Cassidy jailed for attack on child with leukaemia

Image caption,
John Cassidy was jailed for two years for attacking the child

A man who head-butted a 10-year-old leukaemia patient after his car was hit with chewing gum has been jailed for two years.

John Cassidy, 26, chased the child as he walked home with friends from swimming in Glasgow in October 2011.

The schoolboy from Somalia stopped running and turned round before being head-butted and knocked unconscious.

Cassidy was jailed after being convicted of assaulting the boy to his severe injury and danger of life.

During the trial last month, Glasgow Sheriff Court heard that the child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had been diagnosed with leukaemia in 2009 and was still receiving chemotherapy and medication when the incident happened on 16 October 2011.

He had been returning from swimming with friends at Springburn Leisure Centre when the attack happened.

'Racist things'

Giving evidence behind a screen, the boy said: "I was drinking Dr Pepper and taking gum because I was feeling sick, I was taking steroids and stuff."

Jurors heard that he stopped and crouched down, put his bottle of juice on the ground and spat his chewing gum onto Fountainwell Road, Sighthill, only for his friends to shout at him to run.

Asked why his friends had issued the warning, the boy replied: "They saw behind me someone running."

He said he heard "swearing and racist things" being shouted at him as he ran.

The boy said he stopped and turned towards the man who was running at him and that is all he remembers.

"That's all I saw, him run at me," he said. "My friends told me he head-butted me."

He also said his family had since moved to London as he had been having nightmares and was scared to go outside in case he was attacked again.

The boy's 14-year-old friend gave evidence that, when they were walking home and the boy spat out his chewing gum, it hit a passing car.

"The car stopped and the person came out and started chasing us, then the five of us got split up, then the person caught up with (the boy) and attacked him by head-butting him," he said.

Jailing Cassidy, Sheriff Norman Ritchie QC told him: "You chose to bring your vehicle to a halt, you chose to get out your vehicle and pursue these young boys along the street.

"In particular you chased (the boy) aged 10, a young boy who unknown to you was suffering from leukaemia and was receiving treatment for that.

"You caught up with him merely because he was too tired to continue running and you head-butted him."