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The Man Who Mugged This Elderly Disabled Pensioner Has Been Jailed For Four Years

Richard Gatiss, a drug addict, was sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

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A local beautician named Katie Cutler set up a campaign to raise £500 so he could move.

In the end, the campaign went viral, and over £300,000 was raised. At the time she told the BBC that she had been "overwhelmed" by the support from around the world: "Not just people in the North East, but we’ve had people donating from Canada, Holland, down south, the USA, New Zealand."

Today the drug addict who attacked him, Richard Gatiss, was sentenced to four years in prison.


The BBC reported that he had pleaded guilty to assault with intent to rob at Newcastle Crown Court.

According to the Mirror, Judge Paul Sloan QC told the court: "[Alan] Barnes was vulnerable and I have no doubt he was picked on by you because of his vulnerability. ... It was on any view a despicable offence."

Gatiss's defence barrister, Jamie Adams, told the court that his client was "shocked, horrified, and deeply ashamed at what he did."

Barnes was born with sight and growth problems after his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy.

Owen Humphreys / PA Wire / Press Association

He's known locally as a skilled mathematician who impresses young people by working out how many days a person has been alive after being told their date of birth.

He had an emotional meeting with Katie Cutler in February this year, and said: "I am totally overwhelmed and incredibly grateful to Katie for what she has done for me. The youth of today don't always get portrayed in a positive light, but I won't ever forget what this young woman has done for me. This is the best thing that has ever happened to me."

He told the press he was going to use some of the £300,000 to buy a home closer to where she lived.

Alan White is a news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

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