A TEENAGER who callously kicked a 74-year-old man into the Mersey in an unprovoked assault and ran away laughing has been jailed.

Benjamin Bridgeman was responsible for the shocking attack on the pensioner along a stretch of the river in Howley back in April.

The incident caused widespread uproar in Warrington and further afield, as the victim could have easily been overcome by the fast-flowing river had it not been for the actions of two passing schoolgirls.

Ellie Hughes and Khloe Woods, both 14, formed a human chain in order to rescue the elderly gentleman, who walked home to his family soaking wet and shivering and reported the assault to the police.

A 16-year-old boy who filmed the attack on his mobile phone and uploaded the footage on Snapchat, who cannot be named for legal reasons, walked free from court last week after admitting a joint enterprise assault.

Despite being told he was lucky not to be facing a manslaughter charge, he was handed a 12-month youth referral order.

Bridgeman, 19 and of Quebec Road in Orford, appeared at Warrington Magistrates’ Court to be sentenced this afternoon, Thursday, after pleading guilty to a charge of assault by beating at an earlier hearing.

Here, he was jailed for 10 weeks.

Angela Blackmore, prosecuting, explained to the court how the pensioner was attacked as he stood on the banks of the water near to Riverside Retail Park, opposite an area known as Monkey Island, at around 2.30pm on Sunday, April 25.

Minding his own business enjoying magnet fishing, a beloved hobby of his, he was hit with a sickening fly-kick to his back, with the perpetrator running away laughing.

Footage of the incident captured by the 16-year-old was played in the court room, showing the pensioner careering into the river and banging his head, for which he suffered a cut to side of his nose.

He had been wearing a puffer jacket at the time of the attack – a coat which quickly filled up with water and left him struggling to breathe or exit the fast-flowing river.

The victim ‘just about managed to keep his head above water’ before he was rescued by the two good Samaritans.

Bridgeman handed himself in at a police station following a public appeal for information over the disgraceful assault.

As well as suffering the physical and emotional effects of the attack, the victim also lost a sentimental silver dollar pendant attached to his keyring – a keepsake from his dad, who he never knew.

Several well-wishers scoured the Mersey in the days following the incident in an attempt to recover it, and one successfully pulled the memento from the water using a magnet.

Meanwhile, kind-hearted residents donated hundreds of pounds to an online crowdfunding page set up with the aim of sending the pensioner on a fishing holiday.

More to follow.