THE sentence handed down to the teenager who sickeningly fly-kicked a pensioner into the Mersey has been welcomed by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Benjamin Bridgeman was jailed for the shocking assault yesterday afternoon, Thursday, after hearing the ‘massive’ impact it has had on his victim.

The 19-year-old, of Quebec Road in Orford, was told at Warrington Magistrates’ Court how his 74-year-old victim is now scared of walking along the river or riding his bike to see the birds in case such an attack will happen again.

Speaking after the hearing, the CPS says it hopes the term of imprisonment passed by district judge Nicholas Sanders is of some help to the gentleman in moving forward.

Prosecutor Angela Blackmore, who represented CPS Mersey Cheshire in court during the hearing, said: “This was an entirely motiveless attack on a man who was on his own, elderly and vulnerable.

“He had simply been enjoying a day’s fishing by the banks of the River Mersey. He was attacked by someone who is still a teenager, in a reckless and deliberate way.

Warrington Guardian:

“Bridgeman had a child with him too, who also became involved. Both of the defendants had apparently no thought for the seriousness of what they were doing. The victim could have drowned.

“The 16-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.”

The sentence was also welcomed by Inspector Daniel Haddock, from Warrington Local Policing Unit, who added: “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.

Warrington Guardian: Benjamin Bridgeman outside court at an earlier hearingBenjamin Bridgeman outside court at an earlier hearing

“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, and 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.”