Hitchin teenagers face common assault charges after ‘coughing in faces’ of elderly couple

A 19 year-old, an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old will face charges in court. Picture: Joe Giddens

A 19 year-old, an 18-year-old and a 16-year-old will face charges in court. Picture: Joe Giddens - Credit: PA Archive/PA Images

Three Hitchin teenagers will be summoned to court following an incident which left a woman in her 70s with bruising to one of her eyes.

An 18-year-old man, a 19-year-old-man and a 16-year-old boy will answer to charges of common assault and criminal damage, after authorisation by the Crown Prosecution Service.

On Friday, March 20, an elderly woman and her partner were walking through Paynes Park in Hitchin, when they were approached by three teenagers. One teenager reportedly coughed in her face, making the couple feel very distressed and uncomfortable.

An altercation then ensued after passers-by intervened. The elderly woman was allegedly assaulted and suffered bruising to her eye.

The two people who intervened were also reportedly assaulted and a vehicle was damaged.

Two males were arrested by police that afternoon, and a third male was interviewed by officers the following day.

All three were released under investigation while enquiries continued and a charging decision was considered by the CPS.

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North Herts Chief Inspector Sally Phillips said: “At this uncertain and difficult time, we are taking all reports of this nature extremely seriously and anyone found to be involved in such activity will be dealt with robustly.

“We acted swiftly to bring people into custody in connection with the incident and I am pleased to see that charges are due to be answered, following advice from, and consultation with, the CPS.

Ms Phillips added: “As this is a live, ongoing investigation, it must be allowed to continue unimpeded. We cannot stress enough the importance of avoiding social media commentary around those involved, as this could have a significant impact on proceedings move forward, under the Contempt of Court Act.”

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