Man in court over pensioner assault

A 25-year-old man has appeared in court charged with assaulting disabled pensioner Alan Barnes.

Mr Barnes suffered a broken collarbone in the incident in Gateshead on January 25, prompting an internet campaign which raised hundreds of thousands of pounds for him.

Richard Gatiss, from Gateshead, is charged with assault with intent to rob.

Screen-grabbed image taken from the Go Fund Me website of a page for Alan Barnes

Screen-grabbed image taken from the Go Fund Me website of a page for Alan Barnes

Gateshead Magistrates' Court heard that he allegedly approached Mr Barnes as he placed his recycling bin outside.

Keith Laidlaw, prosecuting, said Mr Barnes alleges that he felt a hand in his pocket and a voice demanding money.

He said the 67-year-old was then pushed to the ground but was able to pull himself up and knocked on a neighbour's door.

Since then, Mr Laidlaw said, the case had received not just local but international publicity.

Chairman of the bench Sue Eltringham said the case would be sent to Crown Court and remanded Gatiss in custody.

Following the attack outside his home in Low Fell, Gateshead, 4ft 6in visually impaired Mr Barnes has been left too frightened to go back.

An online appeal to help him was set up by beautician Katie Cutler, who s aid she initially hoped to raise £500 to help him buy new curtains and carpets.

But instead, her act of kindness went global, with hundreds of thousands of pounds pouring in as well as offers of free help from many local tradesmen.

The fund was eventually halted by Mr Barnes's family with donations standing at more than £329,000.

A fund was also set up by well-wishers to thank 21-year-old Ms Cutler for the consideration she showed for Mr Barnes and she has said she will give the £1,500 raised away to charity.

A man has been charged over the attack on pensioner Alan Barnes in Gateshead

A man has been charged over the attack on pensioner Alan Barnes in Gateshead

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