Man jailed for 'act of brutality'

A 42-year-old man who pushed over a 72-year-old woman in Swaffham Market Place in “an act of brutality” was today jailed for nine months.Shirley Smith - described in court as “elderly and frail” - needed a hip replacement after breaking her joint following the assault by Gary Hickton.

A 42-year-old man who pushed over a 72-year-old woman in Swaffham Market Place in “an act of brutality” was today jailed for nine months.

Shirley Smith - described in court as “elderly and frail” - needed a hip replacement after breaking her joint following the assault by Gary Hickton.

Before jailing him, Judge Paul Downes gave Hickton bail so he could go to a cash point machine and pay Mrs Smith £750 compensation.

Norwich Crown Court heard Hickton had recently been made redundant and got a £5,400 pay off.


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The judge said: “You would have served 18 months if you had not paid compensation. This was brutish behaviour on your part against an elderly and frail woman. It was unjustified and unwarranted behaviour - an act of brutality.”

The court was told that Mrs Smith was shopping in Swaffham last November when she was confronted by two women and a dog in front of her.

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She tried to get past them when Gary Hickton, of Bulstrode Avenue, Dereham, pushed her and she fell down.

Christopher Youell, prosecuting, said her hip was broken at the top of her femur. She had been planning to go on a cruise, but the trip had to be cancelled.

Hickton admitted unlawfully wounding her in November last year. He had two previous convictions for threatening behaviour in 1984 and 1989.

Jonathan Dunne, defending, said Hickton's partner and mother were out walking when one of them asked why the elderly woman couldn't walk round like everyone else.

His partner claimed Mrs Smith had grabbed her left forearm and had held it.

Mr Dunne said Hickton thought Mrs Smith had hold of his girlfriend's arm and had lost his temper.

“He should not have done what he did and is very sorry. This is out of character. His partner has a frozen shoulder and he completely over-reacted.”

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