Soldier admits to Mo attack after changing his plea

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A SOLDIER has pleaded guilty to assaulting a teenage boy in an unprovoked attack in Bexhill.

Ashley Dacosta, 20, of Silvester Road, Bexhill, admitted grievous bodily harm with intent, and racially motivated grievous bodily harm against former Ninfield Primary pupil Mo Bourner last October.

Shock from the attack and life-threatening injury to Mo, then 15, was felt deeply in town but also went nationwide as Mo’s story was broadcast on Crimewatch in mid-December.

Now 16, he is receiving intensive therapy at Tabworth Court in Surrey following brain damage which left him paralysed.

Dacosta, who initially pleaded not guilty, is awaiting sentencing but first has a further charge to face on Monday July 16 of perverting the course of justice.

Meanwhile Mo’s dad Pete, from Hooe, told the Observer: “We are really pleased.

“There was a lot of pressure on all of us over the last few months building up to this court case.

“It’s a big relief.

“We can start, after his sentencing, to move on.”

Pete and his partner Mel were with Mo on the day while mum Rahma attended Hove Crown Court on Friday.

When the news was phoned through, Pete said Mo was so pleased he punched the air.

He said: “Mo was really happy.

“You could see a lot of the tension disappear.

“He (Dacosta) was piling more agony on us by pleading not guilty.

“It had such an effect, it was always in the background of everything we did in trying to keep Mo in a good place so that he could keep healing and get better after his therapy.

“It was fantastic - and it has come at the right time.”

Pete and Mel held a fundraiser for friends and family the previous weekend which was an emotional time for all.

They enjoyed live music and entertainment, and Mo’s poetry, as well as him lighting a symbolic flame.

Money raised will go towards extensive work which needs to be done at home on the farm in Hooe to enable him to move in, such as a wet room and new bedroom.

Pete said: “It’s a big task but we have got to get on with it.

“The weekend was great and I thank everyone there who donated and helped us set everything up, for the love and support of Mo.”

He added that Mo is “doing fantastic” and managed to walk two steps just before Father’s Day - “so that was the best Father’s Day present I could have had.”