Youth tried to smother relative aged 92

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A TEENAGER has been jailed under a law dating back to 1861 after he tried to smother his great-grandmother to steal just £80.

Dion Groombridge was 16 when he visited 92-year-old Margaret Stott at her home in Elland, near Halifax, where he launched a “chilling” attack which involved holding a cushion over her face.

He was sentenced to a five-year jail term with a five-year extended licence after admitting the little-known offence of attempting to choke, suffocate or strangle with the intent to commit theft, introduced under the 1861 Offences Against the Person Act.

When the frail great-grandmother was found by another family member she was “gasping for breath” and “slumped against the sofa with her head tilted backwards”.

Jailing Groombridge, now 17, Judge Jonathan Durham-Hall QC told him: “It is a thoroughly chilling offence when one contemplates it.”

Bradford Crown Court heard Ms Stott told her granddaughter that Groombridge visited her at home and “throttled” her. Ms Stott told police she had refused to give Groombridge any money because he had no means to pay it back.

When arrested, Groombridge, of Brighouse, admitted he had “just put a pillow over her face for, like, two minutes”.

Amanda White, 42, who discovered Ms Stott gasping for breath and is the second cousin of jailed Groombridge, said: “How can somebody do that to a lady of that age, let alone their own great-grandmother?

“She refuses to talk about it. She can’t. Everything has been taken away from her by her own flesh and blood. She was so independent but she knows now that she can never go back to the flat that she loved and had lived in for more than 30 years.

“I’m happy with the sentence and feel that justice has been done. I just hope that he learns a thing or two whilst in prison and comes out a different person.”