A disabled pensioner from North Shields was attacked and robbed on his doorstep by a thug who wrote off his car
A disabled pensioner was attacked and robbed on his doorstep by a despicable thug who stole his car and wrote it off.
The 75-year-old amputee, who has a prosthetic leg and walks with a stick, was returning home to North Shields when he was targeted by Mark Skelton. Prosecutors initially alleged that Skelton repeatedly punched the victim, but accepted his plea that he pushed him to the ground. He briefly lost consciousness and was left bloodied and bruised.
When he returned, he saw that his BMW, which he described as “actually my legs”, had been stolen. Skelton then crashed it nearby, nullifying it and damaging two other vehicles in the process. A court heard the ‘fiercely independent’ former pensioner was now anxious and nervous about leaving his home.
He was left with a swollen temple, bruising and swelling on his forehead, bruising on his cheekbone, a swollen lip, a sore tooth and swelling behind his ear. While Skelton was jailed at Newcastle Crown Court for robbery and aggravated seizure of vehicle, the victim explained in a statement how the offenses affected him.
He said: “I am a full leg amputee and it has had a huge impact on my life. I have always been very independent and despite my disability and age.”
He said he often goes out at night and takes his dog out, but added: “After I was attacked my whole life was turned upside down. I was attacked on my doorstep and now I don’t feel safe in living as I used to, especially since I live alone.
“I depended on my car to get around and get out. When this man stole my car, he stole my legs to get out and get out.” He added that he was scared when he parked his car now and had cut his hedge so neighbors could see if anything happened in the future. He said: “I’m afraid something will happen again. I also started smoking again following this attack.”
Skelton, who has 88 previous convictions, knew the victim and had spoken to him before. On January 22 of this year, the victim saw him on his bicycle and he appeared to be looking at his car. Later that night, he drove home just after midnight, parked his car, and walked to his front door. He then returned to check that he had locked the car and was suddenly approached by Skelton, who asked if he had any jumper cables.
Omar Ahmad, prosecuting, said: “The plaintiff said no and started down his way back to his front door and the accused walked past him, stopped between him and the door and walked past him. said “Give me your fucking keys Complainant was surprised and told him to get out, but defendant demanded the keys and used force against him.
“The defendant says it was a push that knocked him to the ground and he will be sentenced on that basis. The Crown’s case is that the plaintiff says he was struck multiple times by fist.
“The use of force knocked him to the ground and he briefly lost consciousness. When he returned, his keys were missing and his car had been stolen.”
Skelton only drove the car a short distance before crashing it into a parked van, leaving it rammed into the back of it and pushing the van into a car and damaging all three vehicles. The BMW caught fire, which was extinguished by neighbours.
Police attended and Skelton, who appeared under the influence of alcohol or drugs, was arrested. The 30-year-old, of Marine Avenue, Whitley Bay, pleaded guilty to robbery and aggravated vehicle seizure and was jailed for 40 months. He also received a five-year injunction and will be banned from driving for three years after his release.
Glenn Gatland, defending, said: “He has mental health issues and uses drugs to cope with those mental health issues.” He added that there was a “grateful” report of Skelton’s attempts to turn his life around and that he “bitterly regrets” his “stupid decision”.