A 74-year-old angler was "karate-kicked" into a river by laughing teenage thugs who posted footage of the shocking attack on Snapchat.
A court was told the pensioner feared he would die and had been left "aggressive, depressed" and reluctant to leave his house.
His heartbreaking statement came as two teenagers charged after the attack pleaded guilty to their roles in the sickening incident on April 25, the Liverpool Echo reports.
Disturbing footage showed a man dressed in a black gilet kicking the pensioner with force as he stood on the bank of the River Mersey.
As he floundered in the waters those responsible ran away, and laughing could be heard.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said the defendants, Benjamin Bridgeman and a 15-year-old boy who can’t be named because of his age, attacked the 74-year-old man while he was fishing on the banks of the river at Howley around 2.30pm on Sunday, April 25.
Bridgeman, 18, of Yardley Avenue in Warrington, was seen to run at the man and inflict what the CPS termed "a karate-style flying kick" at him which pushed the man into the river.
The CPS said the 15-year-old filmed the attack while it was happening and then posted it on the social media platform Snapchat and put a smiling emoji next to it.
They ran off afterwards but could be seen later looking at the footage together and laughing.
Two heroic schoolgirls rescued the elderly victim from the River Mersey.
Friends Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods, 14, were walking down the river bank in Warrington on Sunday and heard someone screaming for help and turned around to find the man, 74, in the freezing cold water.
The teens rushed to the man's aid and made a human chain to get him out of the water.
The CPS said the pensioner suffered a cut to his nose and had been badly shaken up by the shock of what had happened and the effect of the cold water.
Both defendants handed themselves in a few days after the assault and this week pleaded guilty at Warrington Magistrates’ Court.
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Bridgeman admitted assault by beating and the 15-year-old boy pleaded guilty to common assault. They will be sentenced in June.
The victim’s wife said her husband "believes he could have drowned that day, if it had not have been for the young girls that helped him out."
A CPS spokesperson added: "She says he has changed since the attack and has become aggressive, depressed and is reluctant to go out."
Crown Prosecutor Lydia Durkin added: “This was an entirely motiveless attack on an elderly man who was simply enjoying a day’s fishing by the banks of the River Mersey.
“He was attacked by someone who is still a teenager, in a shocking manner.
"The victim could have drowned. The victim 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."
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