A street robber who targeted an 82-year-old man, stealing his cash belt as he walked to a pub in Lancaster, has been jailed.
Stephen Williams, 31, grabbed the pensioner by the throat demanding funds to carry on drinking outside Bar 1725 in Lancaster on July 3.
The man - who suffers from angina and asthma - was so shaken by the attack that he collapsed inside the bar and had to be comforted by staff while a customer went outside to confront the robber.
Williams, of Alexandra Road, Morecambe, pleaded guilty to robbery after the court heard a woman saw him acting aggressively towards the man.
During the terrifying ordeal, Williams squeezed the pensioner’s throat so he could not breathe and snatched the bag from his belt, before making off with two women.
A woman inside the Bar 1725 witnessed the incident and told Williams to give the bag back.
When police and paramedics arrived at the bar they noticed a small lump to the man’s head.
He was so shocked and shaken by the incident that when he tried to go out the following day he collapsed for a second time and had to be taken home by an ambulance.
Preston Crown Court heard the robbery was an “unplanned, opportunistic attack” on Williams’ part.
The defendant has long standing drug and alcohol issues but was making good progress on a treatment program until he was remanded in custody on a matter which was later dropped, and he relapsed into his old way.
Recorder Robert Pearce, sentencing, said: “You attacked a man you knew through drinking, an 82-year-old man, and became engaged in a scuffle with him and took his bag.
“That was for him and alarming and frightening experience demonstrated by the fact that after you had that scuffle he collapsed in the bar.
“It understandably had the effect on him that he wants to be out of the way so that people like you aren’t going to assault and rob him again.
“This was a mean spirited and cowardly attack on an elderly, vulnerable gentleman.
“To attack a vulnerable person is a serious aggravating factor.”
The judge accepted Williams’ remorse for the attack and jailed him for 28 months.