Man pleads guilty to mugging Second World War army nurse, 91, for just �20 in Highgate

A man accused of mugging a 91-year-old grandmother from Highgate for just �20 has pleaded guilty.

Lynne Elmer-Laird, an enthusiastic member of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, had to undergo an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from her brain following the attack on August 14. She

She has since been released from hospital and is back home recovering from her ordeal.

Members of the community, including the congregation at her nearby church, are wishing her a speedy recovery.

The Reverend Dr Jonathan Trigg, of All Saints Church, in Talbot Road, Highgate, praised Mrs Elmer-Laird’s courage.

“She has been immensely brave,” he said. “Of course she was shaken up, but she attended a social here on Saturday.

“She has been a member of the congregation here for a very long time. She is an amazing woman.”

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Mrs Elmer-Laird, who served as a nurse in the South Pacific during the Second World War, had been shopping in nearby Archway Road on the afternoon she was attacked.

Shopkeepers have spoken of their shock following the assault. A shop assistant at Hayward Pharmacy, who gave her name as Christina, said: “Lynne comes here very often.

“We’re all very shocked. You never know if someone is watching over your shoulder.”

Mrs Elmer-Laird suffered severe bruising and swelling to her face, neck, shoulder and leg and her arm was broken in the attack in which her bank card and bus pass were also stolen.

Eric Banton, 49, of Northumberland Park, Tottenham, was charged with robbery on September 7.

He appeared at Wood Green Crown Court this morning where he pleaded guilty. He will be sentenced on October 5.

PC Paul Hallas, the investigating officer of Haringey CID, said:” The attacker left an elderly woman on the ground in the street, without a care for her welfare.

“Words can’t express the level of depravity the perpetrator stooped to when he targeted this woman.”

The victim’s family stated the following after the attack.

“Mother and Grandmother Lynne who is 91 lived a busy independent life in Highgate.

“Lynne has many friends in Highgate and is known and looked after by the local shop keepers.

“She was also able to go to Muswell Hill alone by bus and is a member of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution where she attends talks and is a keen member of her local church.

“Since Lynne was mugged she has spent two periods in hospital totalling 10 days which included an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from her head.”