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24 February 2015, 11:07
A man has admitted attacking Gateshead pensioner Alan Barnes.
Richard Gatiss pleaded guilty to a charge of assault with intent to rob after he pushed the 67-year-old to the ground in an attack outside his house in January.
The 25-year old, of Split Crow Road, Gateshead, entered the guilty plea via video link to hmp Durham.
Mr Barnes, who stands at just four foot six, touched the nations' hearts after the attack outside his home left him with a broken collar bone.
Members of the public raised over £320,000 to help him start a new life.
UPDATED 10th February 2015
A man has been remanded in custody over the assault on disabled pensioner Alan Barnes in Gateshead. 25 year old Richard Gatiss appeared infront of Gateshead Magistrates this morning
Members of the public raised more than 300 thousand pounds for the pensioner after he was attacked outside his home last month
Mr Barnes, 67, suffered a broken collar bone in the incident, which happened around 6.30pm, on Sunday, January 25th, on Hillside Place in Gateshead.
Gateshead Area Commander Chief Superintendent Andy McDyer said:
"I'd like to reassure people that since this happened we've been relentless in our investigation and in following up lines of enquiry.
In the early hours of Monday officers made an arrest in connection with the investigation and this man has now been charged and is progressing through the court process."
UPDATED 4th February 2015
A £5,000 reward is now being offered for information about the attack on Alan Barnes outside his Gateshead home.
The charity Crimestoppers has offered the money in exchange for information about the mugger who attacked Alan while he was putting his bin out.
The 67 year old was left with a broken collarbone outside his home in Low Fell on Sunday 25th January.
Director of operations Roger Critchell said;
"This was a particularly cowardly attack on a very vulnerable individual while he was carrying out a household duty that we should all be able to do without fear of being attacked.
It's rare for Crimestoppers to offer this level of reward for this type of incident, but because of the circumstances of the victim and the consequences of him not feeling he can return home, we wanted to offer this sum.
I ask you to do the right thing and help bring the victim some piece of mind.''
If you have any information on this crime you can contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
UPDATED 4th February 2015
An online fund to help Gateshead pensioner Alan Barnes after he was mugged outside his house has been stopped by his grateful family.
Donations to the GoFundMe site now stand at more than £329,000.
Beautician Katie Cutler said there will be a presentation in due course when a cheque will be handed over to the 4ft 6in visually-impaired 67-year-old.
Ms Cutler, 21, wrote on the Alan Barnes Fund page:
"Good morning, after speaking with Alan & his family, they have asked me to stop any further donations to his fund.
He is very grateful for all your love, support & donations.
We will be having a little presentation to hand him his cheque so I'll keep you all updated. X''
UPDATED 2nd February 2015
A fundraising page, set up to support a frail, vulnerable pensioner who was attacked in Gateshead, has now raised more than £300,000.
The beautician who started the page in a bid to help frail pensioner Alan Barnes move home has had an emotional first meeting with him.
21 year old Katie Cutler was so touched when she read about the plight of the 67-year-old, who was born with sight and growth problems and weighs just six stone, that she set up a fundraising page.
But Alan, of Low Fell, Gateshead, was left completely overwhelmed after mum Katie's target of just £500 was smashed.
The pair embraced as they met for the very first time at Alan's sister's home in Benton, Newcastle, where he is currently staying as he is too afraid to go home.
In emotional scenes tearful Katie enveloped Alan in her arms and then held his hand as they sat beside each other on the sofa and chatted.
Concerned Katie asked Alan how his injuries were healing and presented him with some chocolates and a get-well card.
Alan, who is only just over four feet tall after his mother contracted measles during pregnancy, said:
"It was absolutely magic to see her.
I did not know what to expect or if she would even want to meet me. It is very hard to take in. It really is great to have seen her and I am so grateful for the last few days.
I had told my sister Carol as soon as I found out what a generous thing she had done that I wanted to meet her, but I didn't know if she would want this or not.
I don't often get compliments, but I have had quite a few lately, which is lovely. It shows that one person can make a huge difference to somebody's life."
Katie, of Ryton, Gateshead, added:
"Alan is exactly how I thought he would be, friendly and polite.
I hope that he can get a house with this money. I am really overwhelmed to be here. It is lovely. It doesn't feel real to be honest. I knew I would get upset when I saw him, but it is happy tears.
When I read that he was scared that he did not want to go back to his home, I knew I had to do something to help.
I never thought it would take off in this way. I am thrilled that it has done."
After Katie, mum to Gracie, two, set up the Alan Barnes fund donations flooded in.
Meanwhile, a separate fundraising page has now been set up to raise money for Katie to have a holiday, as a thank you for starting the fund for Alan.
Alan was well known in Low Fell and active in community, regularly going to church. He loves walking and is popular with youths in the area as he is an excellent mathematician and is able to quickly work out how many days a person has been alive after being given their birth date.
"I am totally overwhelmed and incredibly grateful to Katie.
The youth of today don't always get portrayed in a positive light, but I won't ever forget what this young woman has done for me.
This is the best thing that has ever happened to me. The money will certainly not be wasted. I am not a flash person, so I won't be splashing out on an expensive holiday. I plan to put it to good use.
Despite what happened to me, I always knew there were good people in the world, and this has confirmed it."
The pair, who plan to forge a long-lasting friendship, spent around 40 minutes together in 55-year-old sister Carol's home before they said an emotional farewell.
It was last Sunday that Alan was targeted by an opportunist thug who pushed him to the ground before rifling through his pockets for cash as he took the bins out.
Vulnerable Alan was left with a broken collarbone and police are continuing to hunt the cruel yob, who fled the scene empty handed.
Det Cons Chris Neil, of Gateshead CID, has urged anyone who knows who is responsible to get in touch.
"This was a cowardly assault on a vulnerable man who wasn't able to defend himself.
His disability means he is partially sighted and quite short and it's disgraceful that someone would target him.
The victim is quite a well known man in the area and this has left him extremely distressed.
We're doing everything we can to trace the suspect and I would urge anyone who saw this attempted robbery or who has information about the person responsible to get in touch."