A traveller has been found guilty of pushing a partially-sighted OAP to the ground after she tried to stop him from moving caravans on to a beauty spot.
Sarah Freeman, 73, had her false teeth knocked out as she tried to stop 29-year-old Sam Loveridge from entering the area of sprawling green land in Colchester, Essex.
Mrs Freeman was left badly bruised after Loveridge and two other men attempted to prise her fingers from a gate as they hurled incessant abuse at her – with a video of the incident going viral last year.
Colchester Magistrates were shown pictures of Mrs Freeman as she attempted to cling to a metal red gate which opened on to the land.
‘I think, essentially, the pictures speak for themselves in this case, but it’s quite useful for you to see what occurred’, prosecutor Mo Miah said.
‘She noticed some caravans when she was out walking the dog- she was concerned that the caravans were going to enter the land and so she formed a human shield of sorts between her and the land.
‘She was met with a torrent of abuse – the word ‘whore’ was used against her, the word ‘c**t’ was used against her.’
A statement read out on Mrs Freeman’s behalf detailed the injuries she suffered during the incident in June 2017.
‘I am a pensioner, I have a small bruise on my right arm my fingers on my left arm are very black and very poor’, she said.
The court heard how Mrs Freeman was walking her two Jack Russells at the Hilly Fields nature reserve in Colchester, Essex, when she initially saw a number of travellers approaching the site.
When she saw several men attempting to force the gate open, she ran towards them and wrapped herself around the gate – but faced a barrage of physical and verbal abuse.
Loveridge, a father-of-three, was fined £650 and ordered to carry out 210 hours of community service.
Delivering sentence, chair of the bench Ian Fuller said: ‘This was a poor thing to do – let’s put it that way.
‘Mrs Freeman was doing a public spirited thing, and she was subjected to a verbal torrent of words that were offensive in nature clearly.
‘She was subjected to attempts to unclasp her from the post and to bruising – this was unpleasant, very unpleasant.’
Jamie Crawt, 24, from Littlehampton, West Sussex, was previously convicted of assaulting Mrs Freeman in a separate trial.
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Speaking at the time of the incident, Mrs Freeman said: ‘My family were not too happy with my actions – they were cross that I had intervened and put myself in the way.
‘I thought of this while I was watching all these vans pull up and thought ‘not again.’ “I wrapped myself around the gate and I wasn’t going to let go if it killed me.
‘I understand travellers are just people.
‘But you don’t expect anyone to manhandle a 73-year-old woman in order to break-in.’