/Teen who kicked pensioner in to Mersey jailed

Teen who kicked pensioner in to Mersey jailed

A teenager who kicked a pensioner into the River Mersey was slammed by a judge for the “frankly sickening” attack.

Benjamin Bridgeman admitted kicking the 74-year-old with force as he stood by the river.

The 19-year-old then ran away, along with a 16-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons.

Angela Blackmore, prosecuting today at Warrington Magistrates Court, explained the victim had been taking a walk at about 2.30pm on Sunday, April 25.

She said he had been “looking over the River Mersey” and thought he had been “pushed very hard from behind”.

Footage shared on Snapchat, which the ECHO has chosen not to publish, shows Bridgeman kicking the pensioner in the back alongside laughing emojis.

Ms Blackmore said: “He has fallen into the river and banged his face on something.

“He described the water as being really cold and being really shocked.”

The victim was wearing a black puffa jacket and was “just managing to keep his head above water” as he wasn’t a strong swimmer.

Receive newsletters with the latest news, sport and what’s on updates from the Liverpool ECHO by signing up here

It was only when two schoolgirls came to his aid that he was able to be lifted to safety.

The court heard he then went home and “didn’t want to upset” his wife, telling her he had fallen in but “later that day he told her he had been pushed”.

Disturbing footage, which the ECHO has chosen not to publish, shows a man dressed in a black gilet kicking the pensioner with force as he stands on the bank of the Mersey.
Disturbing footage, which the ECHO has chosen not to publish, shows Benjamin Bridgeman kicking the pensioner as he stands on the bank of the Mersey

Ms Blackmore said he was “very upset and shocked” and in a victim personal statement his wife said he has “changed in personality” and has become forgetful.

She explained that he was distressed by the loss of a keyring, as his keys had fallen from his pocket and he returned later the same day to search for it.

The court heard after the incident was publicised a member of the public found the keyring and returned it to the victim.

Ellie Hughes (left) and Khloe Woods, 14, who rescued an elderly man who the River Mersey
Ellie Hughes (left) and Khloe Woods, 14, who rescued an elderly man who the River Mersey.
(Image: UGC)

The man’s wife also said he “feels lucky to be alive” as he could have drowned if not for the young girls.

Following the attack Bridgeman handed himself in on April 28 and said he “deeply regrets” kicking the pensioner.

Bridgeman has previous convictions for having weapons, criminal damage and breaches of a community order.

Mark Lever, defending, said: “This could have had a very very serious outcome and he knows that.

“He accepts you’re going to punish him severely for this. He understands that is the right outcome.”

Speaking outside court at a previous hearing Bridgeman said “everyone makes mistakes”.

18-year-old Benjamin Bridgeman, of Yardley Avenue in Warrington, apologising for kicking an elderly man into the Mersey outside court after pleading guilty
Benjamin Bridgeman apologised for kicking an elderly man into the Mersey outside court
(Image: SWNS)

He said: “Obviously I’m very sorry and that, you know, it wasn’t supposed to happen. I didn’t realise he was 74 years old.”

Bridgeman, of Quebec Road, Orford, Warrington, admitted one count of assault.

District Judge Nicholas Sanders, sentencing, it is an “extremely serious offence” and described the video as “frankly sickening”.

The judge said: “You ran away afterwards leaving him struggling in the water.

“You actually were with a child and I can only assume encouraged the child to do what he did.

“It clearly had a massive effect on the victim in this case.”

Bridgeman had been subject to supervision from the youth offending service for two years but had “failed to cooperate in full” both with the supervision and with the probation service.

Bridgeman failed to engage with a pre sentence report, and told the probation officer it “wasn’t really worth it”.

Bridgeman was jailed for 10 weeks and must pay £500 in compensation to his victim.

District Judge Sanders said credit should go to those who helped the victim adding: “They get the credit, you certainly don’t.”

The boy who filmed the attack was previously handed a 12 month youth referral order and was ordered to pay £500 in compensation.

Original Source