A teenage boy has been issued with a youth caution by Cambridgeshire Police after his actions left a 17-year-old with life-changing injuries.
Connor Cahalane-Toon was riding his motorcycle in woodland in St Neots on April 24 when the incident happened.
Between Howitts Lane and Howitts Gardens, near to the railway bridge, a length of rope tied between two trees caused Connor to come off his bike, leaving him with serious injuries to his neck and windpipe.
An appeal for information was immediately launched and inquiries led officers to the 14-year-old boy from the St Neots area, who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The 14-year-old, who was voluntarily interviewed by police on May 6, was issued with a youth caution for causing grievous bodily harm without intent on Thursday (January 7). He must also undertake sessions offered by the Youth Offending Service.
Following the incident, Connor was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge where he was placed in an induced coma for two-and-a-half weeks. In the middle of June, after being in hospital for seven weeks, Connor was discharged to recover at home with his family.
Detective Constable Tom Nuttall, investigating officer, said: “The focus on Connor has remained at the centre of our investigation and we have worked very closely with his family throughout.
“It was agreed by Connor and his family, alongside the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), for an out of court disposal, which has resulted in the caution being issued.
“Connor has come a long way since he was injured and even though he is still recovering from what is a life-changing injury to his vocal chords, hopefully within a few years he will have recovered as fully as he can and be able to move on with his life.”
A CPS spokesperson said: “The decision to offer a caution to the youth who admitted responsibility for putting the rope between two trees on a woodland track near St Neots, Cambridgeshire, was taken after full consideration of the evidence available, the remorse shown and discussions with the family of the victim and with Cambridgeshire police.
“The victim’s family were consulted throughout and their views were taken into account in reaching this decision.
“We were satisfied there was no deliberate intent to cause harm to the victim or any other person. Rather, it was a reckless action that the youth, who was of previous good character, did not foresee would end in the victim receiving a serious injury.
“In considering whether to prosecute the 14-year-old we took into account the likely penalty, which would be a Referral Order to the Youth Offending Team. Having accepted a caution the youth will now be referred to the Youth Offending Team.
“The decision to offer a caution was not taken lightly and does not minimise the serious consequences for the victim caused by the reckless action of a 14-year-old.”
Nicola Toon, Connor’s mother, said: “Connor, his family and I would like to take this opportunity to thank our family, friends and all the professionals who have helped us though this traumatic time over the past few months.
“Due to the severity of Connor’s injuries, there is no doubt that had he not had the amazing and skilled care from the paramedics who attended, followed by the care by Accident and Emergency, Neurosciences Critical Care Unit (NCCU) and the Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) departments at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, he would not be here with us today.
“We will be forever grateful and thankful for all the care that Connor has received and continues to receive on his road to recovery.
“We would also like to thank DC Tom Nuttall and his team for all their hard work ensuring that an individual was held accountable for their actions. It is our hope that the youth will comprehend what a life-changing effect he has had on an individual’s life by committing such a mindless act.”