Eric Banton jailed for robbing grandmother in Highgate

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Media captionCrack and heroin addict Eric Banton, 49, was "high as a kite" when he shoved Lynne Elmer-Laird to the ground

A man has been jailed 11 years for robbing a 91-year-old woman, leaving her with serious injuries.

Crack and heroin addict Eric Banton, 49, was "high as a kite" when he shoved Lynne Elmer-Laird to the ground in Highgate, north London in August.

The grandmother suffered injuries including a broken arm, a fractured hand and a blood clot to the brain.

Banton, of Northumberland Park, Tottenham, was sentenced at Wood Green Crown Court after admitting robbery.

The court heard Mrs Elmer-Laird's purse had contained just £20.

Prosecutor Nana Owusuh told the court that Mrs Elmer-Laird had been going about her "normal business" in Archway, north London, on 14 August.

'Grabbed hand'

She was resting on a bench outside a church when she was was approached from behind by Banton.

"She realised that someone was pulling her handbag which contained her purse with cash and credit cards," Mr Owusuh said.

"She grabbed hold of the man's hand and started to shout at him and bravely tried to remove the man's hand.

Image caption Eric Banton was jailed for 11 years

"The man then pushed her over causing her to fall down backwards towards her left side, and she hit her head against a brick wall."

Banton took Mrs Elmer-Laird's purse, her bank cards and bus pass, leaving her on the ground.

Addressing the court, Mrs Elmer-Laird said her face had been "black and blue and yellow".

She said she could not go out because her face was a "mess".

"I couldn't face going out to see anybody," she added.

Her condition worsened in the weeks following the attack, and she spent four nights in hospital in September, the court heard.

The court heard Banton had a string of convictions for robbery, shoplifting, violence, dishonesty and drugs offences dating back to 1979.

He has been sentenced twice for robberies, each for three years, and breached two suspended sentence orders by attacking Mrs Elmer-Laird.

'Rock bottom'

Keith Stones, defending Banton, said his client had committed a "ghastly offence".

"The day before this offence he was given a suspended sentence of four months," he said.

Image caption Mrs Elmer-Laird suffered injuries including a blood clot to the brain

At time of the attack, Banton was supposed to be attending a meeting with a parole officer, but said he could not make it because he was with his sick daughter.

Mr Stones added: "The simple answer is, to use a vernacular, he was as high as a kite."

He said Banton was genuinely sorry, and had reached "rock bottom".

Judge James Patrick said Banton lived a life of "entrenched offending".

Referring to him avoiding being sent to jail the day before the attack, he said: "You celebrated your good fortune with a binge of drink and drugs."

He said Mrs Elmer-Laird was "determined to gain her confidence back".

"What you did to her must have devastated not only her but her family and friends," he told the defendant.

"You are unable to live in society."

Judge Patrick told Banton he was not enacting the existing suspended sentence orders, but that he must serve six-and-a-half years behind bars, with the remaining four-and-a-half years on licence.

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