Woman dragged OAP off bench by his ankles just so she could drink Strongbow can

A woman ruthlessly dragged an elderly man off a bench to make room for her to sink a can of Strongbow cider in comfort.

Anna McDermott disturbed a vulnerable man's sleep by forcibly pulling him to the ground after a bloke threatened to push him in a canal, the ECHO reports.

Liverpool Magistrates Court heard McDermott sob as she pleaded her innocence on Wednesday June 21 as she faced charges for the offence committed in Chester over a year earlier.

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The 39-year-old had denied assaulting the vulnerable man beside the Shropshire Union Canal Main Line. But she was found guilty of the crime last month following a trial, which she failed to attend.

Prosecutor Lionel Cope told the court that a man in a blue jacket, accompanied by McDermott, had been seen threatening the man, who was lying down on the bench, shortly before the assault took place.

Witness Sarah Manning said: "I heard him shout 'come on, this is our bench, we sit here every day'.

"He shouted 'get up now mate, or you're going in the canal'.

"The female walked to the left side of the bench. I didn't her her say anything. She grabbed the old man's ankles and dragged him off the bench. He hit his head on the ground, face-first. Once he hit the floor, nobody approached him or checked if he was OK.

"I saw the female sit down on the bench as if nothing had happened and open a can of Strongbow."

Ms Manning went into a nearby Iceland and alerted the staff, who called 999.

Jim Smith, defending, said: "It's doesn't appear that (the assault) was premeditated. It was more recklessness, as opposed to a direct intent to cause injury."

He said McDermott had struggled with alcohol and drug-use, but had successfully cut down following a stay in Royal Liverpool Hospital, and was awaiting inpatient treatment for her addiction.

McDermott, who wept throughout the hearing, claimed the elderly man had simply fallen off the bench when she "nudged" him with her hip after sitting down, and that his head injuries existed prior to the assault.

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But District Judge Clarke said: "Whether or not he had existing injuries doesn't help you, because either you caused these injuries, or he was already injured and you made it worse. To continue drinking while he was on the floor injured shows a degree of contempt.".

McDermott said: "That didn't happen."

She was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for one year, and was ordered to complete 20 rehabilitation days and 12 months of alcohol treatment. She must also pay £300 to the victim.

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