‘Frail’ man, 72, beaten as he protected wife

Bristol Crown Court.

Bristol Crown Court. - Credit: Archant

A ‘bullying’ cyclist will serve four months in prison after punching a ‘frail and vulnerable’ 72-year-old Clevedon man who sought to protect his wife during an unprovoked violent attack in broad daylight.

Rodney Silcocks and his 65-year-old wife Stella were walking home after shopping one Saturday afternoon but he was left cut, battered and bruised when struck by 26-year-old Kyle Richards, who simply thought the pair had looked at him oddly.

He grabbed Mr Silcocks’ walking stick and knocked him into the road when the pensioner fell to the floor.

A witness told police they ‘never thought anyone could assault such a frail man’.

Bristol Crown Court was told on January 6 that the out-of-the-blue violence left Mr Silcocks jittery, nervous and suffering flashbacks, as Richards was sentenced after pleading guilty to one charge of assault causing actual bodily harm.

The Silcocks were walking home on May 30 past Lidl in Great Western Road when Richards cycled up behind them.

A second cyclist had to brake sharply to avoid the couple and the married pair then crossed the road.

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However, an angry Richards followed them believing they had looked at him funnily.

Richard Posner, prosecuting, said: “Richards skidded his bike to the floor towards Mrs Silcocks in an aggressive manner, with his chest puffed out and muscles tensed.

“Mr Silcocks, who uses a stick for mobility, stood in front of his wife (to defend her).”

Richards, who used to live in the town, shouted ‘come on old man, hit me’, as he goaded Mr Silcocks.

Mr Posner added: “He didn’t give Mr Silcocks any time to think about it. Richards punched Mr Silcocks to the face leaving him dazed and confused.

“Richards grabbed the walking stick and Mr Silcocks fell to the floor.”

As the pensioner fell he reached out and grabbed Richards’ legs, who knocked Mr Silcocks into the road as he attempted to shake him off.

Mr Silcocks suffered grazes to his chin and cheek, a cut to his nose and bruising to his arms. His watch was also damaged.

Mr Posner told the court: “This was bullying behaviour of an elderly couple in broad daylight.”

Richards had three previous convictions for violent offences.

Simon Cooper, defending, said the 26-year-old was sorry for what had happened.

He said: “The defendant bitterly regrets his actions. He is genuinely remorseful.

This was a violent over-reaction to what he felt was a challenge from this elderly gentleman.”

Richards, who has since moved to Chowns Close in Thame, Oxfordshire, has been treated for psychiatric issues in the past and was bullied as a child.

Mr Cooper said: “He is culpable but his culpability is reduced by his mental health.”

Recorder Paul Dunkels said Richards deserved to be jailed for ‘deliberately targeting’ a ‘vulnerable victim’.

Richards was told he will serve half of an eight-month sentence and must pay £100 victim surcharge.