Benjamin Bridgeman was responsible for the shocking attack on the retiree along a stretch of river in Howley in April. The incident sparked a widespread uproar in Warrington and beyond, as the victim could have easily been overpowered by the river had it not been for the actions of two passing schoolgirls. Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods, both 14, formed a human chain to rescue the elderly man, who was walking home with his family soaked and shaking and reported the assault to police.A 16-year-old boy who filmed the attack on his mobile phone and uploaded the images to Snapchat, whose name cannot be identified for legal reasons, left court last week after admitting to a joint business assault. Despite being told that he was lucky not to face a manslaughter charge, he was served with a 12-month-old youth referral order. Bridgeman, 19, of Quebec Road in Orford, appeared in Warrington Magistrates Court for sentencing this afternoon, Thursday, after pleading guilty to one count of assault and battery in an earlier hearing. Here, he was imprisoned for 10 weeks. Angela Blackmore, accuser, explained to the court how the pensioner was attacked while he was on the waterfront near Riverside Retail Park, in front of an area known as Monkey Island, around 2.30 pm on Sunday, April 25. While minding his own business and enjoying magnet fishing, a beloved hobby of his, he was kicked in the back from him, and the perpetrator fled laughing. Footage of the incident captured by the 16-year-old was reproduced in the courtroom, showing the retiree running into the river and hitting his head, resulting in a cut on the side of his nose. He was wearing a padded jacket at the time of the attack, a coat that quickly filled with water and left him with difficulty breathing or exiting the fast-flowing river.
The victim “almost managed to keep his head above the water” before the two Good Samaritans rescued him. Bridgeman turned himself in at a police station following a public appeal for information about the shameful attack. In addition to suffering the physical and emotional effects of the attack, the victim also lost a sentimental silver dollar pendant attached to his key ring, a memento of his father, whom he never knew. Several supporters toured the Mersey in the days following the incident in an attempt to retrieve it, with one successfully pulling the souvenir out of the water with a magnet. Meanwhile, kind-hearted residents donated hundreds of pounds to an online crowdfunding page set up with the goal of sending the retiree on a fishing vacation.