Elderly victim was battered to ground for horse race winning
A PENSIONER mugged by an armed gang for his horse racing winnings says he will not let the experience drive him out of his home.
Former Royal Navy sailor Barrie Ellis, 71, who has hearing problems and walks with a stick, was punched and thrown to the ground after a grandmother he had chatted to called in two men to mug him.
The grandfather-of-eight, a retired baker from Easton, was left bruised and battered after the attack.
He said: "I think they were a bit evil. I think they planned it."
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But he insisted he would not leave his neighbourhood, saying: "People have asked me to move but I am happy here. I know everybody."
At Bristol Crown Court yesterday 38-year-old Vikki Hastings, Lewis Adams, 25, and Gary Hall, 35, all of no fixed address, were jailed after pleading guilty to robbery.
Judge Michael Roach jailed Hastings for a year and nine months, Adams for three years and Hall for two years and nine months.
Tara Wolfe, prosecuting, said on March 12 Mr Ellis went to William Hill bookmakers on Stapleton Road to have a flutter.
She said: "He had £320 on him and he won £53. He was at a bus stop in Stapleton Road when Vikki Hastings asked him to buy her a drink.
"They had a chat, he said he had won some money and he had £350."
The court heard Hastings said she needed the toilet and they went to Riverside Park, off Pennywell Road, so she could go behind a bush.
Miss Wolfe said: "Mr Hall and Mr Adams followed them along this route and were only a minute behind. Mr Ellis noticed the others and, without warning, both men grabbed him.
"Lewis Adams had a knife and told him: 'If you don't let me have the money I'll put a knife in you'."
The pensioner clasped his cash but lost grip of it as Hastings held him, the court heard.
The two men pushed him to the ground and ran off, but the incident was witnessed by office workers who called police.
Officers arrived promptly, found Mr Ellis covered in blood and chased the muggers down.
Miss Wolfe said Hall had £200 stuffed down his underpants.
The court heard a personal statement from Mr Ellis in which he said he had suffered from a painful leg since the robbery and he had not been out much since.
Anjali Gohil, defending Adams, said her client apologised unreservedly, adding that he was born of drug addict parents who gave him cannabis from the age of seven and heroin from eight.
She said he had the courage to understand his flaws, which gave some hope for the future.
David Maunder, defending Hastings, said the grandmother was ashamed. She was taking crack and heroin at the time and needed two pints of super-strength cider or lager just to get out of bed.
At one point in the mugging she had pleaded with her fellow defendants not to hurt Mr Ellis, the court was told.
Ian Halliday, defending Hall, said his client was also ashamed. He had taken great strides with tackling his illicit drug use, the court heard.
Jailing the trio, the judge said they had targeted a "vulnerable, elderly man" and such offences always resulted in a jail sentence.