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Two teenagers plead guilty after pensioner karate-kicked into the River Mersey

|News, Violent crime

Two teenagers have pleaded guilty after a defenceless pensioner was karate-kicked into the River Mersey at Warrington in a motiveless attack.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that the defendants, Benjamin Bridgeman and a 15-year-old boy who can’t be named because of his age, attacked the 74-year-old man while he was fishing on the banks of the river at Howley around 2.30pm on Sunday, 25 April 2021.

Bridgeman, of Yardley Avenue in Warrington, was seen to run at the man and inflict a karate-style flying kick at him which pushed the man into the river.

The 15-year-old filmed the attack while it was happening and then posted it on the social media platform Snapchat and put a smiling emoji next to it.

They ran off afterwards but could be seen later looking at the footage together and laughing.

The pensioner was rescued from the water by some young girls nearby. He'd suffered a cut to his nose and had been badly shaken up by the shock of what had happened and the effect of the cold water. He lost his keys in the incident and also a silver dollar pendant which had great sentimental value. These were later recovered.

Both defendants handed themselves in a few days after the assault. On 19 May 2021, at Warrington Magistrates’ Court, both of them pleaded guilty. Bridgeman pleaded guilty to Assault by Beating and the 15-year-old to Common Assault.

They will be sentenced in June.

In a Victim Personal Statement, the victim’s wife said her husband believes he could have drowned that day, if it had not been for the young girls that helped him out. She says he has changed since the attack and has become aggressive, depressed and is reluctant to go out.

Crown Prosecutor Lydia Durkin of CPS Mersey-Cheshire, said: “This was an entirely motiveless attack on an elderly man who was simply enjoying a day’s fishing by the banks of the River Mersey.

“He was attacked by someone who is still a teenager,  in a shocking manner. Both of the defendants had apparently no thought for the seriousness of what they were doing. The victim could have drowned. The victim certainly says that’s what he feared was going to happen.

“The 15 year old made matters worse by filming the incident, putting it on Snapchat and laughing about it. The victim has been left badly shaken up by this. The early guilty pleas by the boys are welcome but why they chose to do this in the first place is a mystery.

“The Crown Prosecution Service would like to thank the witnesses in this case for their help in bringing this prosecution. We hope the successful end to this case is of some help to the victim.”

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