A TEENAGER says he will ‘do his time’ after admitting kicking a pensioner into the Mersey.

Benjamin Bridgeman, from Orford, was filmed by friends carrying out the cowardly attack on the 74-year-old man before running away laughing as his victim struggled helplessly in the water near to Riverside Retail Park.

Warrington Guardian:

A still from the shocking video

The 18-year-old pleaded guilty to assault in connection with the incident at Warrington Magistrates Court yesterday, Wednesday.

His sentencing was adjourned until next month by deputy district judge Ian Barnes, and he was released on bail.

Bridgeman told the Warrington Guardian outside court after the hearing: “Obviously I’m very sorry.

“It wasn’t supposed to happen, I didn’t realise he was 74 years old.

“All I can do now is move forward, everyone makes mistakes in life.

“That’s the honest truth, from the bottom of my heart.

“I’ll be home soon.

“Back in court in three weeks, so everyone will see me get sentenced then – that’s what everybody wants.

“You’ll see me do my time, which I deserve.”

Warrington Guardian:

Benjamin Bridgeman outside court yesterday

The court had earlier heard that the elderly man was stood on the banks of the river off Wharf Street in Howley, opposite a small patch of land known as Monkey Island, while magnet fishing at around 2.30pm on Sunday, April 25.

Bridgeman then callously delivered a sickening flying kick to his back, causing him to career into the Mersey and bang his head as he fell – suffering a cut to the face as a result.

He had been wearing a puffer jacket at the time of the attack, a coat which quickly filled up with water and left him struggling to breathe or exit the fast-flowing river.

The victim ‘just about managed to keep his head above water’ before he was rescued by two Good Samaritans.

After walking home soaking wet and shivering, his family reported the incident to the police.

Bridgeman, of Quebec Road, handed himself in at a police station following a public appeal for information over the disgraceful assault.

In a statement which was read out to the court, the victim’s wife said: “Since then, my husband has completely changed.

“Since the incident, I feel I have seen a decline in his mental health – I have tried to get him to go and see a doctor, but he is refusing to get help.

“He is confused and fearful – he feels that he has lost all faith in the system.

“The incident has made him think that all teenagers are trouble and would treat him in the same way if given the chance.

“We used to go for walks along the river, but since the incident he is refusing to do so – particularly near any kind of water – as he is scared of being assaulted again.

“He feels he is lucky to be alive and I agree with him, because he might have drowned.

Warrington Guardian:

The moments leading up to the attack

“This incident will have an impact on him for the rest of his life.

“I can only hope that in the coming weeks and months he will be able to process what has happened.”

Judge Barnes heard that Bridgeman is a regular cannabis user was placed into care at the age of eight and suffers from ADHD.

He told the defendant: “The incident you have pleaded guilty to is quite shocking, and ultimately it’s a serious incident.

“The court will no doubt be considering very seriously whether to impose a prison sentence.

“That is in your hands – if you cooperate, the probation service might be able to suggest a recommendation that does not involve a prison sentence.

“Your conduct between now and then will play a large part.”

A 15-year-old boy from Warrington who cannot be named for legal reasons also admitted assault today, having videoed the incident and then posted the clip – which was played to the court – on Snapchat.

He will be sentenced in the youth court a week prior to his co-defendant, and has been released on unconditional bail until that date.

The teen shook hands with Bridgeman as he was allowed to leave the dock.

Both were supported by their families in the public gallery.

Crown prosecutor Lydia Durkin, the Crown Prosecution Service 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 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 - he 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."

Youngsters Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods had previously been praised for their actions in rescuing the man.

Warrington Guardian:

Ellie and Khloe

The 14-year-old friends formed a human chain in order to pull him from the river.

As well as suffering the physical and emotional effects of the attack, the victim also lost a sentimental silver dollar pendant attached to his keyring – a keepsake from his dad, who he never knew.

Several well-wishers scoured the Mersey in the days following the incident in an attempt to find this memento.

And one successfully pulled the item from the water using a magnet on the Friday afternoon of the attack.

Warrington Guardian:

The recovered pendant

Meanwhile, kind-hearted residents donated hundreds of pounds to an online crowdfunding page set up with the aim of sending the pensioner on a fishing holiday.