A FATHER who armed himself with a baseball bat and assaulted a 13-year-old at a shopping centre has avoided jail.

The mother of the victim has criticised the courts for allowing Daniel Poppy to walk free following the assault at Eastgate Shopping Centre.

Poppy, 35, of The Chase, Billericay admitted assault by beating, possession of an offensive weapon in public and intent to cause harassment alarm or distress.

It is understood Poppy stormed down to the shopping centre following an altercation between two teenagers.

Poppy then attacked the boy while armed with a bat.

The victim’s mother said: “People are always going on about protecting children but I don’t feel enough has been done in this case.

“He has done this to my son and just walked away.

“I think it is awful.

“It has left a lasting impact on my son and he is very upset following the attack.

“He keeps checking around him to see if the man is coming back again.

“He doesn’t want to leave the house or go to socialise with his friends at all.

“He used to do kickboxing but now he doesn’t want to do it at all.

“I was not told about the court date and I feel as a mother I should have had the chance to look this man in the eye and say how dare you do this to my son.

“My poor baby has been disfigured by this man, he has been left with a scar on his mouth.

“He had to have an operation and have his mouth stitched up.

“This man has destroyed any dreams my son has about kickboxing, he was so good at it and could have got so far.”

She said her son has lost all his confidence after the attack.

She said Poppy should have been sent to prison.

The attack took place in March and Poppy admitted three charges last month.

As well as the four month sentence, suspended for a year, he received a restraining order banning him from contact with the victim until at least 2020.

He was also ordered to pay £150 in compensation to the victim and £210 in costs and charges.

He was sentenced to four months for the assault, four months for the possession of the baseball bat and a month for the intent to cause harassment, alarm or distress.

However all sentences will run at the same time and all were suspended.

While subject to the suspended sentence Poppy has been ordered to attend ten days of rehabilitation activity requirement to address his violent outburst.

He was sentenced at Basildon Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

Had he not admitted his crimes Poppy could have been jailed. Eastgate Shopping Centre was contacted about the incident which took place outside a restaurant.