Teenager let off with reprimand after bus attack

An elderly First bus driver who was assaulted and needed hospital treatment has complained after his attacker was given no more than a reprimand.

Bill Franklin was driving the No 18 service when he was repeatedly punched by a 17-year-old who believed that the driver had been disrespectful to his sister.

The teenager was arrested and a court date was set but Mr Franklin, who lives near Ipswich Road, Norwich, was later told by police that the attacker had received a reprimand.

Mr Franklin, pictured, who is still driving at 70 because he needs the money, had to go to hospital after the attack and was off work after the injury. He is now afraid to do the number 18 route now because of this youth.

He said: 'I feel I have been badly let down. These were totally unprovoked attacks on me.'

The news comes just a month after another man was found guilty of assaulting a First bus driver in Norwich, although a First spokesman said that it was still a rare occurrence for drivers to be assaulted.

Mr Franklin said a woman had asked to be let off after the last stop in North Walsham Road, Sprowston, but it was unsafe to drop her there and he let her off 120 yards away. On the return journey, the woman was waiting at a bus stop in North Walsham Road with her brother.

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Mr Franklin said: 'He jumped on the bus and shouted why I had been disrespectful to his sister while punching me on the left shoulder and upper arm. I had my arm raised to protect my face.'

A First spokesman said: 'We were made aware of the assault to Mr Franklin on November 19 and contacted the police immediately. Violence and verbal abuse against our staff and customers will not be tolerated.'

A Norfolk police spokesman said: 'Each case is judged on its own merits. In this instance, the 17-year-old offender admitted common assault and the reprimand he received will remain on his record for seven years.'