Hertfordshire manslaughter: Woman who pushed alzheimer's sufferer to death inside bank spared jail

Hertfordshire manslaughter: Woman who pushed alzheimer's sufferer to death inside bank spared jail

A 26-year-old woman has avoided jail after fatally shoving an 82-year-old Alzheimer’s sufferer in a bank after becoming impatient.

Courtney Richman pushed Myra Coutinho-Lopez to the floor inside Lloyds Bank in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, on December 6, 2021.

The elderly woman, confused by her statements, had gone to the bank to withdraw money, causing a few queue to form behind her.

Richman, who was at the front of the line, clapped in apparent relief when Mrs Coutinho-Lopez was assisted by a member of the public and moved away from the counter.

Myra Coutinho-Lopez (Herts Police)
Myra Coutinho-Lopez (Herts Police)

Ms Coutinho-Lopez, possibly disturbed by the clapping, swung her handbag at Richman, who is seen in footage recoiling.

In response, Richman pushed Ms Coutinho-Lopez with both hands, causing the elderly woman to fall heavily on her hip and shoulder.

She was taken to hospital and died from her injuries 10 days later.

Richman was arrested the day after the incident and Luton Crown Court sentenced her to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 21 months.

Richman, of Welwyn Garden City, was also given a rehabilitation requirement lasting between 15 to 25 days and was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

Detective superintendent Rob Hall, head of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, said: “This has been a harrowing ordeal for Myra’s family and our thoughts remain with them at what continues to be a difficult time.”

Richman was found guilty before Luton Crown Court in March.

Ms Coutinho-Lopez died in December 2021 (Herts Police)
Ms Coutinho-Lopez died in December 2021 (Herts Police)

The victim was described by her family as a “truly unique person” who had a “strong commitment to supporting others whenever and wherever possible”.

Ms Coutinho-Lopez’s daughter, Michelle Lopez, paid tribute to her mother and said: “We’ve been forced to navigate the difficulties and trials of life without my beloved mother for over two years.

“Her life was taken away from her on 16 December 2021, and we’ve been left trapped in an emotional prison with scars too deep to be mended ever since.

“She’s left an unspeakable void to all who knew her including her beloved children, extended family and lifelong friends worldwide.

“The yearning for my mother’s presence is a constant ache in my heart, particularly as I observe other daughters engaging in mundane activities with their mothers, such as grocery shopping or sharing a coffee or meal together. These memorable moments now evoke a feeling of emptiness.”