Man who mugged 91-year-old to be sentenced

A man who robbed a 91-year-old woman for her purse containing a travel card and just �20 is to be sentenced today.

Lynne Elmer-Laird needed an emergency operation to remove a blood clot from her head following the mugging in August.

Eric Banton, 49, pleaded guilty at Wood Green Crown Court in north London last month.

Mrs Elmer-Laird, a member of the Highgate Literary and Scientific Institution, was walking in Church Road, Highgate, north London, when she felt someone pulling at her bag on August 14.

The Second World War Army nurse looked down to see someone’s hand in her bag and tried to pull away but was forcibly pushed, causing her to fall to the ground and bang her head.

Banton, of Northumberland Park, Tottenham, made off with her purse, which contained her bank card, travel pass and �20 cash.

Mrs Elmer-Laird suffered severe bruising and swelling to her face, neck, shoulder and leg, and a broken arm.

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Speaking after returning home from hospital the brave grandmother said: “I didn’t realise I was being followed. I felt a tug on my arm and realised he had his hand in my bag.

“Without thinking I tried to pull it back and yelled, ‘What are you doing? What are you doing?’ I was then shoved to the floor, hit the pavement and landed on my face.”

Luckily, a neighbour spotted Mrs Elmer-Laird lying on the ground and quickly raised the alarm. She was taken to hospital where she spent a total of 10 days, at one point being readmitted to under go major surgery.

Mrs Elmer-Laird, who moved to Highgate seven years ago to be closer to her family, said: “I can’t let it get me down. “You have to move on and live your life. I’m getting there.

“I’m still feeling angry. I’ve never heard of anyone being mugged in the area.

“People who knew me were horrified by what happened. ‘How dare he push Lynne?’ I am just glad he was caught. I admire the police enormously.”