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Thug whose attack on Alan Barnes sparked massive fundraising bid back in trouble for drink driving

Richard Gatiss, now 30, pleaded guilty to driving when alcohol level above limit, driving without a licence and driving without insurance at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday (pictured outside court)

A frail pensioner who touched the hearts of the nation when he was assaulted by a drug addict has urged his attacker to turn his life around after he admitted drink-driving.

Richard Gatiss was locked up for four years after he left Alan Barnes with a broken collar bone in a cowardly attempted mugging outside his home in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, in 2015.

Well-wishers raised a staggering £330,000 after news of the attack hit the headlines and beautician Katie Culter, then 23, set up an online fund to help him move home.

Gatiss admitted assault with intent to rob and it is understood he was released earlier this year – but he has now been back before the courts for drink driving.

Mr Barnes, 71, who has never been able to settle and is now moving home for the fifth time since the attack, said: ‘I’m very disappointed he’s got back into trouble with the police and the courts.

‘I would have thought he would have learnt his lesson but he obviously has not. He’s been silly. Driving without a licence, that is bad. He might get a heavy fine.

‘Some people just take their chances and don’t seem bothered about what happens.

‘You would have thought prison would have put him on a better track and made him think I don’t want to go back there again. I wish he would make an effort to do something with his life.’

Pensioner Alan Barnes, pictured with fund raiser Katie Cutler, who helped him after the attempted mugging by Gatiss

Pensioner Alan Barnes, pictured with fund raiser Katie Cutler, who helped him after the attempted mugging by Gatiss

Gatiss, now 30, pleaded guilty to driving when alcohol level above limit, driving without a licence and driving without insurance at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

The case will be heard again on August 13.

Alan added: ‘I hope Richard Gatiss doesn’t go back to prison, it’s better if he doesn’t.

‘I have forgiven him for what he did to me.

‘Some people carry stuff around with them for ever. You can’t keep it with you.

‘I’d like to see him get himself a job. With a licence he could have been a bus driver before this, but he’ll never be able to do that now.

‘He’s able bodied, and could make an effort to get a job. He’s fit and healthy unlike some other people. There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be able to make something of himself.’

After struggling to settle in his first £150,000 two-bedroom Victorian terrace, in his native Low Fell, bought with public donations, Alan moved one mile down the road.

Mr Barnes, 71, (pictured) who has never been able to settle and is now moving home for the fifth time since the attack

Mr Barnes, 71, (pictured) who has never been able to settle and is now moving home for the fifth time since the attack

In 2015 Alan bought the second semi-detached two-bedroom property, which cost £115,000, but put it up for sale just two months later.

After a year on the market, Alan accepted an offer of just £78,000 so he could shift again.

In 2017, the pensioner decided to start renting to ‘be free of the ties of a house’ – but then decided to purchase a flash new-build he has now put on the market through Miller homes.

Alan, who has struggled height and growth problems since birth, said last month: ‘You just have to take what life chucks at you.

‘I have a plate in my leg now, but I don’t mind, it doesn’t hurt. It’s 10cm by 4cm and has one screw, or so they told me.

‘It bothers me more than what that lad did to me to be honest, but I forgave him a long time ago. It’s the Christian thing to do.

‘I’ve always had a thing for houses.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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