Traveller found guilty of attack on Colchester pensioner

A traveller who pushed a “public spirited” pensioner to the ground has been found guilty of assault and sentenced to community service.

73 year-old Sarah Freeman was acting as a human shield, trying to prevent a group of travellers entering Hilly Fields in Colchester when she was assaulted by Sam Loveridge, 29.

Mrs Freeman was walking her two dogs at the nature reserve on 8 June 2017, when she saw the travellers approach the gates to the park.

On seeing a group of men attempting to force the gate open, Mrs Freeman wrapped herself around a post and held firm for 30 minutes until the police arrived. She was left badly bruised by the incident.

Loveridge denied the charge, but was found guilty today (Tuesday January 30th) at Colchester Magistrates’ Court.

Mrs Freeman, who was not in court today, said after the incident: “I wrapped myself around the gate and I wasn’t going to let go if it killed me.

“My family were not too happy with my actions, they were cross that I had intervened and put myself in the way.”

Magistrates were shown pictures of Mrs Freeman clinging to a wide, metal gate which opens on to green land.

Sentencing Loveridge, chair of the bench Ian Fuller, said: “This was a poor thing to do.

“Mrs Freeman was doing a public spirited thing and she was subject to a verbal torrent of words that were offensive in nature.

“She was subjected to attempts to unclasp her from the post and to bruising – this was unpleasant, very unpleasant.”

Loveridge’s conviction comes after another traveller in the group, Jamie Crawt, was issued a community order last year in a separate trial.

Crawt, 24, from Littlehampton, West Sussex, was convicted of assaulting Mrs Freeman, after being caught on camera prising her fingers away from the post.

Loveridge was fined £650 and ordered to carry out 210 hours of community service.