Four teenagers who fractured a pensioner’s skull after throwing a stone at a taxi in a “reckless” attack have avoided jail.
The male youths had been throwing rocks at passing cabs near the busy Bristol Road in Birmingham in May last year.
Sentencing the four at Birmingham Youth Court on Friday, a judge told them it had been “incredibly fortunate” nobody had been killed in their “reckless“ enterprise.
District Judge Joanna Dickens said: “If you were adults you would all be going to jail today for a lengthy period of time, such is the seriousness.”
In an incident on the night of May 25 2016, the youths targeted a hackney carriage carrying an elderly couple along Bellevue Avenue, Edgbaston.
Its driver said in a statement afterwards that he accelerated when he saw a group of youths appear from behind a tree at the roadside, after recalling other attacks on cabs in the same area.
The next moment he heard a “loud bang” and the sound of “smashing glass”, said prosecutor Angela Hallan.
The missile had shattered a window, hitting the 77-year-old woman and showering her fellow passenger in shards of glass.
The pensioner was left bleeding and “screaming” in shock and pain.
At an earlier youth court hearing, a 17-year-old admitted wounding and was convicted of conspiracy to commit damage to other cabs.
Five other taxis had been hit that same night, causing at least £1,600 in damage and one of which was also carrying a passenger.
Two 16-year-olds and another youth, 15, were also convicted of wounding and conspiracy to damage taxis.
In a victim impact statement, the injured woman said she and her husband had enjoyed a night out to the Birmingham Hippodrome, seeing The Sound of Music, before getting a cab home.
She said: “I remember a loud bang and glass smashing.
“When I saw the blood on my hands, I realised I’d been hit by something on my head.”
The taxi driver described hearing his passenger screaming after the attack and, deciding it would be quicker than waiting for an ambulance, he drove her to hospital.
Doctors diagnosed a skull fracture, with the court told she had been left both mentally and physically scarred.
The moment of the attack was captured on dramatic CCTV footage by a camera inside the cab.
The victim added: “We shouldn’t have to put up with this sort of violence – if not for the taxi driver I could potentially have been killed.”
Sentencing the four Birmingham teenagers, who cannot be named because of their ages, Judge Dickens said there had been “serious consequences” not only for the victim but for the youths.
The court heard that three of the youngsters’ families were now being evicted from their homes as a result of their involvement.
The oldest youth told the judge he was “sorry”, while one of the 16-year-olds expressed his remorse saying he had had “sleepless nights” about his actions.
The youngest attacker, aged 15, said “I feel bad for the injured woman”, while the remaining youth, also 16, also apologised.
The judge handed each youth a one-year youth rehabilitation order with curfews of between three and six months.
Each teenager was also ordered to pay £50 compensation to the injured woman.