Search

‘I forgive you’ says Highgate grandmother mugged by crack addict for £20

13:35 25 October 2012

Lynne Elmer-Laird, 91, arrives at Wood Green Crown Court alongside an officer in the case to confront her attacker Eric Banton

Lynne Elmer-Laird, 91, arrives at Wood Green Crown Court alongside an officer in the case to confront her attacker Eric Banton

Archant

A courageous 91-year-old grandmother says she will forgive the crack addict who viciously mugged her for £20 after he was jailed for 11 years.

Lynne Elmer-Laird - who was mugged for £20.Lynne Elmer-Laird - who was mugged for £20.

Prolific robber Eric Banton, 49, should have been at a probation meeting when he mugged Lynne Elmer-Laird near her home in Highgate – causing such horrific injuries she had to undergo an emergency operation to remove a blood clot.

A day earlier the father-of-three, who has 39 previous convictions, had been given a suspended sentence for shoplifting and celebrated with a crack cocaine binge.

Determined to move on from the attack, Mrs Elmer-Laird, a member of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, took to the stand at Wood Green Crown Court on Friday (October 19) where she confronted 6ft 2in Banton.

Proud son Charles sat in the public gallery as the mugger wept while a list of the grandmother’s injuries were read to the court.

91-year-old Lynne was robbed while out in Highgate91-year-old Lynne was robbed while out in Highgate

The 91-year-old told the court: “My face was black, blue and yellow. I still have injuries which are taking time to heal. My face was such a mess. I couldn’t face going out to see anybody.

“I do go out now with care but I don’t go very far. I’m getting my confidence back and I’m determined to get on with things.”

The court heard how, on August 14, Banton – while still “high as a kite” – followed Mrs Elmer-Laird, who had popped out to the shops.

The army nurse, who survived the Second World War and served in the South Pacific, was walking along Church Road, Highgate, when she felt Banton pulling at her bag.

Former crack addict and prolific robber Eric Banton has been jailed for 11 years for mugging the 91-year-old grandmotherFormer crack addict and prolific robber Eric Banton has been jailed for 11 years for mugging the 91-year-old grandmother

She tried to pull away but fell to the ground, hitting her head on the pavement.

Mrs Elmer-Laird suffered severe swelling to her face and a fractured hand as well as a blood clot on her brain.

“I was so angry with him for leaving me there,” she said. “I still have the scars on my head. It still hurts but it is healing.”

Keith Stones, defending, said jobless Banton had hit “rock bottom” and passed an apology note to the judge on behalf of his client which Mrs Elmer-Laird graciously thanked him for.

“He has a deep sense of shame, and has now realised, when sober, what he has done,” Mr Stones said.

Despite this the defence solicitor said there was “no mitigation for this ghastly offence”.

Sentencing Banton, Judge James Patrick, branded him a danger to the public.

He said: “When he is intoxicated, he loses, as is self-evident, all touch of decency and propriety.

“What you did to her must have devastated not only her, but also her family and friends.

“Even your defence lawyer says there is no mitigation for this ghastly offence. You have shown you are unable to live in society. It is necessary to protect the public from you.”

Speaking after the case Mrs Elmer-Laird said she was happy with the sentence and told the Ham&High she had to forgive Banton because she is a Christian.

“I just feel very sorry for him,” she said. “He has a wife and three children. I don’t know if he will learn anything from it. I’ve never met anyone like him before.

“I just think it is so sad. He is not getting on with his life. Life is so important and precious. I have a wonderful family and beautiful grandchildren. I just feel sorry for him.

“Even if he is off the streets for at least six years it is better than nothing. I don’t want to know him and I don’t want him to know me.

“Pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start all over again. That is my philosophy in life.”

Asked if she would consider moving away from Highgate, she said: “No. Highgate is my home. Charles is in the next road. I am looking forward to being 100. I’m staying put.”

Banton, of Northumberland, Park, Tottenham, pleaded guilty to one count of robbery and must serve at least half his sentence behind bars.

Latest Hampstead & Highgate News Stories

The inquest into the death of Dmitrijs Makejevs heard that he had tried to stop using drugs but fellt a sense of

The drug-related death of a young, homeless man was at first thought to be suspicious – but an inquest heard that marks on his face were probably caused by rats.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Ikram Farah

Police are appealing for the public’s help to find two sixteen-year-old girls who have gone missing from Camden.

Friday, August 26, 2016
Mary Langan with her 23-year-old son, James

Carers of adults with demential and disabilities are demanding change after a report revealed there is a “breakdown of trust” on the Haringey boards designed to represent them.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Nina Martynchyk with her foster mother, Nina B

A young woman who overcame anorexia is organising a conference with the Royal Free Hospital to draw attention to how the condition affects children and teenagers

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Highgate School

Students and staff at Highgate school were reflecting on a very impressive set of GCSE results today, with 88.2 percent of exams receiving a grade of A* or A.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Hampstead School is in Westbere Road (Pic credit: Google streetview)

The Hampstead School has once again seen its GCSE results improve today, with nearly a quarter of all grades receiving an A* or A grade.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Hornsey School for Girls

Girls at Hornsey School for Girls were today collecting some stellar GCSE results.

Thursday, August 25, 2016
Sam White has praised William Ellis pupils

The headteacher of William Ellis school, Sam White, was full of praise for his students today after a promising set of GCSE results.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The showroom is located in Hayes

After 25 years as a trade-only business, family-run door manufacturers Composite Door Master are set to open their first public showroom in Hayes this weekend.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Most read Hampstead & Highgate news

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Property Newsletter Sign-up

Get the latest North London property news and features straight to your inbox with our regular newsletter

I am also happy to receive other emails...
Fields marked with a * are mandatory
Email Marketing by e-shot

Competitions

You could win £15,000 to spend on either their mortgage or a deposit towards the home of their dreams

Wouldn’t it be lovely to have a period of time when you simply don’t have to worry about finding the money each month to pay your mortgage? When you don’t have to put money aside from your monthly income, or worry about having to afford other essential outgoings?

Which book character do you share cleaning habits with?

Whether you have more in common with put-upon Cinderella, emotionally turbulent Jane Eyre, or easily distracted Mole, you’re sure to appreciate that one lucky winner will receive four sessions of free cleaning. Enter our quiz for your chance to win. All runners up will get £10 off their first clean when making a repeat booking.

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now