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ROBBER BATTERED OAP FOR CHOCOLATES; Thug left 90-year-old bleeding on floor.

Byline: JAMES TAIT

A CALLOUS thug battered a 90-year-old woman senseless for booze and chocolates.

Russell Barnes, 19, repeatedly punched disabled pensioner Margaret Redpath in the face after she answered the door of her sheltered housing flat.

He then stole cash, a bottle of sherry, a half bottle of brandy, a box of chocolates and various medicines. Initially it was thought that Miss Redpath - who was deaf and needed a zimmer frame to walk - had simply collapsed.

She was found sitting in the living room with blood coming from her mouth and unable to talk. But the social worker who answered the alarm call inspected the gardens after dropping the pensioner at hospital.

She became suspicious after finding medicine bottles and a smashed sherry bottle outside the house.

It turned out that Barnes had visited a friend in the sheltered housing complex around the same time and was spotted drunk and carrying a box of chocolates later that day.

The attack on the defenceless woman stunned the quiet Borders town of Galashiels.

A neighbour said: "It is bad enough robbing the poor woman but assaulting her like that is just unforgiveable."

Procurator fiscal Lesley Thomson told Selkirk Sheriff Court yesterday that Miss Redpath suffered bruising to her face and neck in the attack on December 16, last year.

She added: "When police told her someone had been arrested she became withdrawn and hasn't spoken about it since."

Barnes, who pleaded guilty to the assault and thefts, had sentence deferred for background reports until April 10 and was remanded in custody.

reporters@mirror.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

GUILTY: Vicious Russell Barnes arrives at court
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 21, 2001
Words:273
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