Mugger, 30, jailed for robbing disabled pensioner Alan Barnes, 70, avoids prison despite driving ‘like a bat out of hell’ while twice the drink-drive limit
- Richard Gatiss received a four-year jail term for attacking Alan Barnes in 2015
- Gatiss admitting drink driving and driving without insurance or a licence
- The 30-year-old apologised for his actions at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court
- He was banned from driving for 20 months and handed a community order
Richard Gatiss, pictured outside North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court, received an 18-month community order having admitted drink driving and driving a car without a licence or insurance
The man who was jailed for mugging disabled pensioner Alan Barnes has been handed a community order for driving ‘like a bat out of hell’ while more than double the drink-drive limit.
Richard Gatiss drove out of Eldon Garden car park and crashed into a barrier just off one of Newcastle city centre’s busiest streets, a court heard.
Now the 30-year-old has been sentenced to an 18-month community order for the incident which ‘could have resulted in a tragedy’. He was also banned from driving for 20 months.
Gatiss, from Gateshead, shook hands with the magistrates after receiving his sentence.
He had previously pleaded guilty to driving with alcohol level above limit, driving without a licence and without insurance.
Prosecutor Bethany Jendrzejewski said the crash was witnessed by a man who was on a night out with friends and having a cigarette outside the Percy Arms, near Haymarket.
Ms Jendrzejewski said: ‘The witness saw a blue Renault come out of the car park and turn onto Morden Street. He described him as driving “like a bat out of hell”.
‘He said he thought it was stolen from the way they were driving it.’
North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard the car then crashed into a barrier.
Ms Jendrzejewski said the witness and his friend went over to the car to see if everyone was ok.
‘When he looked in the driver’s side window he could see the driver’s eyes were bulging and the male who had been the driver started shouting “get the f****** car out, the cops are coming” to his friend in the passenger’s seat.
‘They started to swap seats and were trying to reverse the car out of the collision.’
Gatiss received a four-year prison term in 2015 after he viciously assaulted pensioner Alan Barnes. Following the attack, well-wishers raised more than £300,000 for Mr Barnes so he could buy a new home
Mr Barnes, pictured, has moved house five times since the attack as he has found it difficult to settle into a new home for an extended period of time
Katie Cutler, right, launched a fundraising campaign for Mr Barnes which raised more than £300,000
In a statement to the court, the witness said: ‘This incident made me feel sick. They could have hit somebody. They did not show remorse.’
The police arrived at the scene and Gatiss was charged with drink driving. It was found he had 80mg of alcohol in 100ml of breath – the legal limit is 35mg.
It was then discovered he did not have the necessary licence or insurance to be driving the vehicle.
Representing himself, Gatiss said: ‘I’m very remorseful for what I’ve done – it was a stupid thing, I wasn’t thinking at the time.’
He was sentenced to a community order for 18 months with 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement and a 20 month driving ban.
Gatiss was given a four year prison sentence in 2015 after he assaulted Mr Barnes in Low Fell.
Registered blind and standing just 4ft 6ins tall, the 69-year-old victim was left with a broken collarbone.
The incident shocked the nation and around £330,000 was raised for Mr Barnes through an online fundraising drive.
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