Exeter Tesco yob punched security guard

A security guard at Tesco Metro in Exeter suffered a fractured eye socket when he was punched by an angry teenager. Keleb Soper ran up behind the guard and landed the single heavy blow, Exeter Crown Court heard. He launched the attack during a rowdy confrontation between store workers and a group including his brother, who had been ejected from the store.

Soper, who has a history of violence, was described in court as having a ‘strike first think later mentality’. He was spared prison by the judge who said he was still young and had time to outgrow his immaturity. The defendant, aged 19, of Bonhay Road, Exeter, was given a suspended jail sentence.

Read more: The Devon burglars, violent criminals and drug dealers locked up in April The incident happened on July 1, 2021 just after 4pm. Soper and friends visited the store and a bicycle was left in front of a fire extinguisher.

There was a confrontation as requests were made to move the bike. Soper’s group said they would take pictures of the guard and report him for abuse. The incident became more rowdy and Soper’s brother was ushered out of the store.

CCTV showed people gathering at the entrance to the store and Soper’s brother removing his short and being restrained by a female friend. Soper himself was then captured on CCTV running up from behind and punching the guard once to the face. The guard needed treatment at hospital.

He said in a statement he had worked in public-facing jobs for years but had not faced abuse like it before. He has since left his job. The defendant admitted assault causing actual bodily harm.

He has 34 previous convictions to his name. His latest offence put him in breach of a Youth Referral Order. Ms Felicity Payne, defending, said he had a ‘poorly placed sense of family loyalty’.

She said this had been instilled him him since he was a child and he played up to the low expectations other people had of him and other members of his family. “The mindset is toxic and he seems to have very much a strike first think later mentality,” she said. But she said he does not want to get a bad name and accepts the incident was a mistake.

Recorder Mathew Turner said the security guard had ‘quite properly’ spoken to his brother and banned him from the store. “You ran some distance straight towards the security guard and punched him from behind,” he added. “You connected with his left eye when he had no defence and it was wholly unprovoked. “You have an appalling record for violence and threatening behaviour. You acted impulsively and your actions are a clear sign of immaturity.”

Soper was given a suspended nine-month term in youth detention.

He must do 80 hours of unpaid work; a thinking skills programme and 20 rehabilitation days with probation.

He must pay GBP150 in compensation to the victim.

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