OAP attacked in hospital car park
An elderly hospital volunteer valiantly clung on to her car keys as a convicted robber fleeing from the police repeatedly stamped on her hand in a bid to get them from her.
But a judge heard that Mark Elsworth made off when a passer-by came to his victim’s assistance on Warwick Hospital car park, stopping to turn back and apologise.
Elsworth, 45, of Arden Street, Stratford, was jailed for three years and four months after pleading guilty at Warwick Crown Court to a charge of attempted robbery.
He was given a consecutive one-month sentence for escaping from lawful custody after absconding from the court when his case was first listed for sentencing last week.
Prosecutor Richard Franck said that in December last year a 75-year-old retired lady drove onto the Warwick Hospital car park at 7.45am to help as a hospital volunteer.
As she got out of her car to check that she was within the parking bay lines she noticed Elsworth walking towards her. He ran forward and jumped on her, grabbing her by her shoulders and pushing her face-down to the ground as she managed to put her hands out to prevent her face hitting the Tarmac.
Elsworth then began to stamp on her hand and wrist repeatedly and to kick her to her back and in the area of her kidneys, shouting that he wanted the keys to her car.
As he continued to stamp on the pensioner’s hand, demanding the keys, she valiantly kept a grip on them and called for help in between telling him: “You’re not having them.”
A man who heard her rushed over, shouting to Elsworth who stopped his attack and quickly walked away, pausing briefly to turn back and say to his victim: “I’m sorry.”
He was arrested an hour later after he was seen trying to get into the ladies’ changing room at the Warwickshire Golf Club in Leek Wootton, but refused to be interviewed.
His victim had a suspected fracture of a bone in her hand, but Recorder Richard Bond pointed out there was no medical evidence to show it was actually broken.
Mr Franck said that Elsworth had been remanded in custody, but he had been transferred from Hewell prison near Redditch to the Reaside secure psychiatric unit – and last week he absconded after staff from the unit had brought him to court. The court also heard that in 1996 Elsworth had been jailed for six years for robbing three Nuneaton pensioners in their own homes.
Maninder Chaggar, defending, said a psychiatric report showed Elsworth had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic, and at the time of the incident at the hospital he was suffering serious paranoia because he had stopped taking his medication.
She said Elsworth, who demonstrated remorse as he ran off, ‘does not remember how he had ended up at the hospital.’
But at an earlier hearing it had been explained that Elsworth had been arrested following an allegation that he had threatened to kill a neighbour while brandishing a knife. Because he was injured during that incident, officers had taken him for treatment at the hospital where he escaped from them.
Jailing Elsworth, Recorder Bond told him: “This was a vicious attack on a 75-year-old female volunteer at Warwick Hospital car park.
“She stood up to you and refused to hand over her keys. That is why it’s an attempted robbery not the full offence, but this was a determined attempt to get her car keys.
“I accept when you came to your senses you did apologise, but you have to look at it from her point of view.
“She was a lone female on the car park about to go into the hospital to do some voluntary work, and she was vulnerable because of her age. She had no chance against you as she lay on the floor and you stamped on her hand.”
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Saturday 18 May 2013
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