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

Claire Meir part of a charity raising money for books for Syrian refugees in Turkey. Photo: Nigel Sutton

A mother was inspired to fundraise to buy books for Syrian children in Turkey after imagining what it would be like if her son was fleeing devastating civil war.

The primary school pupils enjoyed a range of workshops. Photo: Jacqui Sinnatt

Camden and Islington primary school children enjoyed a taste of creativity away from the classroom at the Primary Careers Fair held at the British Library.

Yesterday, 17:03
Ray Davies is returning to Hornsey Town Hall

Ray Davies performed one of his first gigs at the iconic venue when he was still at school, before going on to form The Kinks

Yesterday, 15:37
The coffin arrives for the funeral of David Gest arriving at Golders Green Crematorium in north London.

Mourners have remembered music producer and TV star David Gest at a funeral service in Golders Green.

Yesterday, 13:34
PC Shane Moulds has been dismissed for misconduct

A Camden police constable has been sacked for punching a member of the public he was arresting and hurling abuse at him, calling him a ‘posh twat’

Yesterday, 13:33
Big Green Bookshop is raising money for Haringey schools.  Joint owner Tim West  pictured. Photo: Nigel Sutton

Two book owners was sickened when an opportunistic thief stole £600, but their customers were “unbelievably” supportive and in a “tsunami of loveliness” helped them raise more than nine times the amount in donations.

Yesterday, 12:39
Found dead: David Gest (Picture: Ian West/PA Wire)

The funeral of David Gest is set to take place this afternoon at Golders Green crematorium, according to reports.

Thu, 15:57
The case will be heard at the Court of Appeal

A man convicted of murdering a reclusive author in his Hampstead home will have his case heard at the Court of Appeal because of alleged police failings.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

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

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Hampstead & Highgate Express
e-edition today

Subscribe