Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Mum Asks Judge Not to Jail Homeless Defendant

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

Mum Asks Judge Not to Jail Homeless Defendant

Article excerpt

GOOD SAMARITAN WHO SUFFERED BAD INJURY WHILE HELPING ROUGH SLEEPERS IS HAILED AS SOMEONE 'THIS CITY CAN BE PROUD OF'

A MUM left seriously injured as she handed out clothes and food to homeless people in Manchester has been hailed as a woman 'this city can be proud of.' .

Catherine Whittaker, 45, suffered a broken hip when a fight broke out as she helped a rough sleeper on Deansgate. But she asked a judge not to send the woman responsible for her injuries to jail.

Catherine was giving a homeless ex-serviceman a coat, a pair of boots and food when the trouble started near the Royal Bank of Scotland in Spinningfields.

Amanda Briggs and another man approached and began to kick and punch the homeless man Catherine was helping.

Following the attack, the homeless man fell onto Catherine.

Briggs then raised a wine bottle and shouted 'aggressively' at her. Days later Catherine was found to have suffered a broken hip.

The mum-of-one required surgery and was admitted to hospital for five days. Catherine was housebound for nine weeks following the incident, which happened in December 2015.

She lost her job as a result of her injury and had to leave her home because she couldn't afford to pay the rent.

But when she told Manchester Crown Court how the incident has affected her, Catherine asked a judge not to send Briggs to prison.

She said she knew Briggs, having helped her on the streets. Judge Anthony Cross QC agreed and handed Briggs, who is due to give birth in March, a 10-month sentence suspended for 12 months.

Despite her ordeal, Catherine - originally from Bolton - said it would not put her off helping the homeless.

She said: "They still need feeding, looking after and chatting to. It will not stop me."

Asked why she believed Briggs should not go to prison, she said: "I believe she needs rehabilitation, to help her and her child in the future. …

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