Former homeless man attacked innocent teenager who he mistook for someone else

Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, where the hearing took place
Wigan and Leigh Courthouse, where the hearing took place

A former homeless man attacked a teenager after mistaking him for a thug who used to terrorise him on the streets.


Darren Dickinson kicked the 16-year-old boy and launched a verbal tirade at him, believing him to be a youth who had persistently been antagonistic towards him when he had been sleeping rough.

But the boy was completely innocent, it transpired, and had been unlucky enough to bear a resemblance to the 43-year-old’s tormentor.

In a hearing at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court, Dickinson, of Derby House in Scholes, pleaded guilty to one count of common assault.

The court heard how the teenaged victim was walking into Wigan town centre on the afternoon of May 22, and was near the Gala Bingo hall when he noticed Dickinson walking towards him.

The pair bumped into each other, at which point Dickinson made an offensive remark about the boy’s glasses.

He became more aggressive when asked by the teenager “what his problem was,” kicking him in the groin.

Members of the public were quick to intervene in the escalating row, at which point Dickinson left.

Police were called to the scene and found Dickinson still in the area following a short search, and he was arrested.

He admitted in an interview at the station that he had been drinking, and could not remember making the offensive comments about his victim’s glasses, but said he didn’t think he would say something like that as he wore glasses himself.

Defending, Karen Moorfield told justices that Dickinson “fully admitted” the crime, revealing he had lashed out in anticipation that he would be attacked himself.

Addressing the bench himself, Dickinson said: “I got it wrong. I thought it was someone who was terrorising me when I was homeless. I got it wrong, I got it very wrong.”

The victim suffered no lasting injuries.

Dickinson was given a conditional discharge for 12 months. He must also pay £150 compensation to his victim, as well as court costs of £85 and a victim surcharge of £20.