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Ipswich: ‘Cowardly’ robber given five years after mugging 89-year-old man with a Zimmer frame as he walked away from Sainsbury’s

PUBLISHED: 18:14 20 December 2013 | UPDATED: 18:14 20 December 2013

Colton Bridgeman

Colton Bridgeman

Archant

A “cowardly” robber who mugged an 89-year-old man and a 78-year-old woman in attacks within days of each other in Ipswich town centre will be spending Christmas behind bars after a judge locked him up for five years.

Twenty-year-old Colton Bridgeman ran up behind the 89-year-old as he was walking with the aid of a frame along Foundation Street after a shopping trip to Sainsbury’s and went through his pockets, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

He took out items and threw them to the ground and ran off with £10-£20 cash after pushing his shocked victim against a wall, said Marcus Croskell, prosecuting.

“He was so flabbergasted he sat down. He was very upset,” said Mr Croskell. He said Bridgeman was later picked out on a video identification parade by a woman in an electric wheelchair who went to the man’s aid and challenged Bridgeman.

Two days later on August 12 a 78-year-old woman, who had also been shopping at Sainsbury’s, was in Bond Street when Bridgeman ran up behind her and snatched her purse containing £6 cash from her handbag.

“She was shocked and shouted after him,” said Mr Croskell.

He said that as the woman tried to pull her handbag away from her attacker she fell against a door.

Bridgeman, of Weavers Court, Harwich, admitted two offences of robbery and asked for seven offences, including theft and burglary, to be considered.

Sentencing him to five years detention at a young offenders’ institution Recorder Mr Stephen Solley QC told Bridgeman, who was in tears as he was taken away to begin his sentence, the robberies were “crimes of great cowardice”.

He said he was “staggered” that anyone could commit such crimes against two elderly people.

Paul Donegan, for Bridgeman, said his client had a difficult time as a teenager but this did not excuse his offending.

He said Bridgeman had used Class A drugs and had committed offences to fund his drug habit. However, he was now motivated to change his ways.

Mr Donegan described the robberies as “opportunistic”.

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