Pensioner’s mugger to be jailed

Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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A drug addict whose sickening attack on a disabled pensioner caused outrage around the world will be sentenced for trying to mug him today.

The plight of 4ft6in victim Alan Barnes led to him receiving £330,000 in donations from well-wishers after an online fund was set up.

Richard Gatiss broke the 67-year-old’s collar bone when he shoved him over outside his home in January and demanded money before running off empty-handed.

Gatiss, 25, from Split Crow Road, Gateshead, will be sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court for assault with intent to rob. At a previous hearing it emerged he has been kept in segregation while on remand for his own safety.

The prosecution may argue the mugging was a hate crime, inspired by hostility towards disabled people. The defence has previously argued against that interpretation of events.

Judge Paul Sloan QC, who will pass sentence, told Gatiss at the last hearing that jail was inevitable.

It has previously been said in court that Gatiss was trying to get money to buy legal highs when he mugged Mr Barnes.

After Gatiss is sentenced, the visually-impaired pensioner, who will buy a new house with the proceeds of the online appeal, will speak about launching a foundation with beautician Katie Cutler who set up the fundraiser for him.

They are teaming up with the aim of raising £1 million for good causes.

After reading about the attack on Mr Barnes, Ms Cutler set up a page on a donation website and initially hoped to raise £500 to pay for new curtains for his new home.

But the appeal went viral and disgusted donors from around the world were so keen to help that the fund had to be stopped by his family when it reached £330,000.

Many well-wishers expressed their fury that someone was capable of attacking the vulnerable pensioner who was putting out his bins.

Published: Thursday 2nd April 2015 by The News Editor

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