Benjamin Bridgeman was jailed over the ‘sickening’ attack (Picture: SWNS/Liverpool Echo)A teenager filmed on Snapchat kicking a helpless pensioner into a freezing river has been jailed for 10 weeks.
Benjamin Bridgeman, 19, booted the unsuspecting 74-year-old from behind as he paused during a walk along the River Mersey on April 25.
He and a 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, could then be seen running away laughing after the attack.
The elderly victim was only rescued from the water when two schoolgirls heard him screaming and formed a human chain to pull him out.
Bridgeman, of Orford in Warrington, pleaded guilty to assault at the town’s magistrates’ court.
District Judge Nicholas Sanders handed him a 10-week prison sentence and ordered him to pay the victim £500 in compensation.
He said it was an ‘extremely serious offence’ and described the video as ‘frankly sickening’.
Benjamin Bridgeman pictured outside Warrington Magistrates’ Court (Picture: Warrington Guardian/SWNS)The court heard the pensioner had been out for a walk at around 2.30pm on the Sunday afternoon when he was ‘pushed very hard from behind’.
Footage of the attack was posted on the social media app with a series of laughing emojis.
Prosecutor Angela Blackmore told the court the victim fell into the river ‘and banged his face on something’, adding: ‘He described the water as being really cold and being really shocked.’
He was ‘just managing to keep his head above water’ when schoolgirls Khloe Woods and Ellie Hughes, both 14, came to his rescue.
Khloe told MailOnline: ‘We just saw the man in the river holding on to a branch. Ellie had hold of me and I reached out and grabbed the man.
‘I was worried that when he let go of the branch, I might lose my grip and he would have gone down the river.’
Ms Blackmore told the court the man ‘didn’t want to upset his wife’ by telling her of his ordeal, but later confided in her about being pushed in.
The video was posted on Snapchat with laughing emojis (Picture: Liverpool Echo)She said he was ‘very upset and shocked’, with the pensioner’s wife describing in a statement how he has ‘changed personality’ as a result of the attack and ‘feels lucky to be alive’ after almost drowning.
Bridgeman, who has previous convictions for offences including the possession of weapons and criminal damage, handed himself in on April 28.
Speaking outside court following an earlier hearing he said he was ‘very sorry’ and ‘didn’t realise [the victim] was 74 years old’.
Defending, Mark Lever 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.’
The boy who filmed the attack was previously handed a 12-month youth referral order and was similarly ordered to pay £500 in compensation.
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