An 18-year-old teenager who ran away laughing after kicking an elderly man into the River Mersey has been jailed.
Benjamin Bridgeman ran off laughing after being filmed by a 15-year-old friend.
Bridgeman of Quebec Road, Orford, Warrington and a 15-year-old boy – who cannot be named for legal reasons – pleaded guilty at Warrington Magistrates Court on Wednesday 19 May.
Bridgeman appeared at Warrington Magistrates Court today, Thursday 10 June and was sentenced to 10 weeks in prison.
At Warrington Magistrates Court on Thursday 3 June the 15-year-old was given a 12-month youth referral order after admitting a joint enterprise assault.
The 15-year-old filmed Bridgeman running towards the 74-year-old man and kicking him into the water. He then posted it on the social media app Snapchat and they both ran away laughing.
The incident took place at 2.30pm on Sunday 25 April on Wharf Street near Riverside Retail Park.
Two 14-year-old girls saw the man face down in the water and immediately pulled him to safety.
He had suffered a cut to his nose after banging his head when he fell into the water.
The gentleman walked home freezing cold and wet and informed his family of the incident who then reported it to police.
An investigation began and an appeal to the public for information in identifying those responsible was issued.
It attracted media attention both locally and nationally and led to the two teenagers both handing themselves into police.
Bridgeman presented himself at Warrington police station on Wednesday 28 April and was interviewed by officers. He told them he ‘deeply regrets’ his actions and it was an ‘incredibly stupid and reckless’ thing to do.
The following day the other boy contacted police and he was arrested at his home address.
It later transpired the victim keys and a silver dollar pendant had fallen into the water when he was pushed.
Members of the community came together to successfully recover the items from the water and returned them to him.
Inspector Daniel Haddock, from Warrington Local Policing Unit, said: “This was a disgraceful act which not only shocked the local community but the nation.
“What the pair saw as funny could have cost this man his life. They have also taken away what was once a favourite and enjoyable place for him to go fishing.
“It is pure luck that two teenage girls were walking past at the time and saw him in the water. Without a second thought they came to his aid and pulled him to safety. It is their actions that restore our faith in humanity.
“At the time our appeal for information generated an overwhelming amount of support from the public which we are grateful for. It meant they had no choice but to hand themselves into the police and admit to what they had done.
“I know how much of an impact this has had on the gentleman. I only hope the support from the community, and knowing those responsible have been punished for what they did, helps him to feel comfortable to one day return to his favourite place.”