Watch: Teenager apologises after kicking 74-year-old man into a river
A teenager who was filmed laughing as he kicked an elderly man into a freezing cold river has apologised after admitting the attack.
Benjamin Bridgeman, 18, was caught on camera carrying out the assault before running away laughing as his 74-year-old victim struggled in the River Mersey in Warrington.
Shocking video footage of the incident went viral last month when it emerged two teenage girls came to the pensioner’s aid and pulled him out of the river.
The man walked home "freezing cold" where he told his family who then reported it to the police.
Bridgeman pleaded guilty to assault in connection with the incident at Warrington Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.
His sentencing was adjourned until next month by deputy district judge Ian Barnes, and he was released on bail.
Speaking to a reporter outside court after the hearing, he said: “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.”
Ahead of his sentencing, Bridgeman added: “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.”
The court had earlier heard that the elderly man was stood on the banks of the river while magnet fishing at around 2.30pm on 25 April.
Bridgeman delivered a flying kick to the man’s back, causing him to career into the Mersey and bang his head as he fell, suffering a cut to his face as a result.
The victim 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.
He "just about managed to keep his head above water" before he was rescued by two teenage girls who were passing by.
Bridgeman, from Warrington, handed himself in at a police station following a public appeal for information over the assault.
In a statement read out to the court, the victim’s wife said: “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.
“This incident will have an impact on him for the rest of his life.”
Judge Barnes heard Bridgeman is a regular cannabis user who was placed into care at the age of eight and suffers from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
A 15-year-old boy who uploaded the clip to Snapchat admitted assault and will be sentenced in the youth court a week prior to his co-defendant.
The teenager, who shook hands with Bridgeman as he was allowed to leave the dock, has been released on unconditional bail.
Following the attack, local residents have donated hundreds of pounds to an online crowdfunding page set up with the aim of sending the pensioner on a fishing holiday.
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