Boy with severe autism left crawling in fear as ex-policeman launches horrific assault

By Jonathan Humphries & Hannah Mackenzie Wood

A young boy with severe autism was captured on CCTV trying to crawl away in fear as he was assaulted by a police officer.

The boy, aged just 10, can be seen scrambling in terror in the school corridor as former Merseyside Police PC Christopher Cruise lifts his leg as though about to kick the victim.

As the Liverpool Echo reports, the child attempts to go through a door before the 57-year-old reaches down, grabbing him by his clothes, and drags him along the ground with the terrified schoolboy's legs trailing behind.

The victim sustained injuries to his knee following the shocking attack.

Former Merseyside Police school liaison officer PC Christopher Cruise, who was convicted of assaulting a pupil in January 2020. (Liverpool Echo)

Cruise, a former school liaison officer, was convicted of assault against the boy at Crewe Magistrates' Court - a conviction upheld by a judge at Chester Crown Court following an unsuccessful appeal.

The incident took place in January 2020, at a special educational needs school in the Liverpool area.

Cruise retired before the force's disciplinary process concluded, but at a hearing last month Cruise was found guilty of gross misconduct and would have been sacked if he remained on the payroll.

That hearing was told that after the incident Cruise walked into a classroom and asked the children if they could hear the victim crying.

The assault was captured on CCTV. (Merseyside Police)

He then pointed at one of the children and said: “You’re next”.

A teacher at the school also told officers he felt Cruise was trying to intimidate him to prevent him reporting the assault during a conversation later the same day.

After being found guilty by magistrates, Cruise, part of the force's Safer Schools unit, was fined £800 and ordered to pay £100 in compensation, as well as £500 in prosecution costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

His appeal landed him with a further £1,620 bill in court costs.

A relative of the child, who did not want to be named, told the ECHO: "I think he should have been put in prison.

"His sentence was so lenient. He is a bully, that's all he is, just a bully."

Speaking earlier about the incident, she added: "We did not even know about it until Careline called his mum.

"We didn't even take it to court, that was the school and Merseyside Police.

"He has autism and he struggles a lot. He is much younger in his head, more like a five year old.

"He is also small for his age as he had growth problems.

"We are all absolutely furious. His days are hard enough already."

The family say the boy has still not talked about the assault, and they are unclear what started it.

Speaking after the misconduct hearing, Detective Superintendent Cheryl Rhodes from the force’s Professional Standards Department said: "Merseyside Police takes the professional standards of its officers and staff extremely seriously.

"The actions of this officer are not reflective of the behaviour and standards of our schools officers who do a fantastic job day in and day out.

"Following the incident all schools officers underwent additional training in conjunction with the Merseyside Police training academy, School Improvement Liverpool and the local authority.

"The public quite rightly have high expectations of our officers and we seek to uphold that and ensure that the meet those expectations. Sadly, on a minority of occasions, when they fall short we will take swift and effective action to ensure that we retain the public’s confidence in the force."

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