Teenagers admit manslaughter of pensioner

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Two 15-year-old boys have admitted killing a partially-sighted grandmother when they stole her handbag for “a small amount of money”.

Paula Castle, 85, who was registered blind and lived alone, fell to the ground after she was robbed in an alleyway off Oldfield Lane South in Greenford, west London.

The pensioner died of head injuries in hospital the following day, November 20, last year.

The youths, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the Old Bailey.

Andrew Edis QC, prosecuting, said: “These two defendants accosted an 85-year-old woman, Paula Castle, in an alleyway in Greenford in order to rob her of what transpired to be a small amount of money and a bank card which was used in order to by some fast food and to charge mobile phones.”

The teenagers also pleaded guilty to robbing Mrs Castle of her handbag and robbing a second woman, 75-year-old Rose Mohamed, of her bag, which contained items worth more than £120 on November 20.

Mr Edis said that Mrs Castle told the police she had been pushed from behind.

“She was caused to fall forwards so that she struck her face on the surface of the pavement,” Mr Edis said.

The youths were due to go on trial charged with murder but their guilty pleas to manslaughter were accepted yesterday.

In explaining the decision to accept the pleas, Mr Edis said: “Rather than intending to cause really serious injury, they simply did not care what happened to her, and in these circumstances we have taken the view to accept the pleas.”

Mr Justice Fulford adjourned the case for sentencing on May 9.