Shoplifter, 17, jailed after injuring 76-year-old man while fleeing

Shoplifter, 17, who left 76-year-old man with broken ankle and barely able to walk after crashing into him when victim tried to stop him fleeing a perfume store is jailed for 23 months

  • Brandon May was fleeing a perfume shop with two bottles when he was tripped
  • Spencer Haworth, 76, stuck a leg out to stop May who crashed into him at speed
  • Manchester Crown Court heard incident ruined Mr Haworth’s life for 17 months
  • Mr Haworth, who has since died of Covid, left unable to play with grandchildren
  • Prolific shoplifter May, who was 17 at the time, has been locked up in young offenders institute for two years and 11 months after admitting GBH and theft

A teenage shoplifter who left an elderly man barely able to walk after the victim tried to stop him fleeing a perfume store has been jailed.

Brandon May, 17, was sprinting away with two bottles of perfume when he crashed into 76-year old Spencer Haworth after the pensioner put out his leg in an attempt to trip him up.

Mr Haworth, who has five grandchildren, was knocked to the floor by the force of the impact and suffered a broken ankle. He needed a metal rod to be placed between his right ankle and knee.

The victim and his wife had to fork out £5,000 on a new downstairs shower as well as a new bed that would fit downstairs, a ramp and a new automatic car when he was finally able to drive again. He has since died from COVID-19.

In a statement before his death Mr Haworth said: ‘I have suffered from a broken leg and fractures to my right tibia and fibula. I have had to have a titanium rod placed between my right knee and ankle.

Teenager Brandon May has been locked up after leaving an elderly man unable to walk after the victim tried to stop the 17-year-old fleeing the shop in Bury with two bottles of perfume

‘I was unable to walk at all for about three months, had no access to the toilet at home and had to sleep downstairs.

‘I felt terrible and felt I had completely burnt out my wife who had to continue working during this time. 

‘I had to use a wheelchair and was completely dependent on my wife. I felt completely useless and depressed. 

‘I have been unable to drive for the past year and it is difficult for me to this day as I have no flexibility in my right leg at all.

‘I have five grandchildren but am no longer to play football or cricket with them.

‘When I had surgery, I was told I may not walk again, and that if I were to fall again, I would not be able to walk again.

‘This causes me great stress and means I am on edge every day thinking if I fall, I may not walk again.

‘I am no longer an independent person and am dependent on my wife. I now drive an automatic car and am always looking over my shoulder and think if I go to help someone I will have to think twice. 

Brandon May, who was 17 at the time, had racked up 19 previous convictions for petty thefts and shoplifting including one incident where he stole £2,240 worth of Michael Kors handbags

‘My confidence is at rock bottom having previously been a confident and sociable person.’

Manchester Crown Court heard May, now 19, of Swinton, Salford, had racked up 19 previous convictions for petty thefts and shoplifting and was sentenced to a one-year youth rehabilitation order for a separate theft committed on the day of the assault.

In one theft he stole £2,240 worth of handbags from a Michael Kors shop in Manchester and taunted the manager – telling her ‘I’m sorry love I swear this will be the last time.’

May admitted occasioning grievous bodily harm and theft and was locked up for 2 years 11 months in a young offenders institution.

Prosecutor Andrew Evans said: ‘At around 10am on 3 April 2019 the defendant walked into a perfume shop in the Mill Gate shopping centre in Bury with two friends, and asked a woman serving him for a small fragrance.

‘When she moved to get a bottle from the counter two bottles of perfume worth £22 each were stolen.

Manchester Crown Court heard that the injuries caused by May had ruined Mr Howarth’s life as he was left in fear he would never walk again and was unable to play with his five grandchildren

‘As they were leaving the store the defendant ran directly into 76-year-old Spencer Haworth.

‘This was a reckless assault because of the way the defendant fled at speed from the perfume shop.

‘He was completely reckless as to whether any injuries would be caused to passers-by because he was so focused on the theft.

‘The defendant was running at full pelt through the shopping centre for about 50 yards and saw passers-by but stuck to his plan regardless. ‘

In mitigation defence lawyer Andrea Lock said: ‘The assault took place 20 months ago and the delay is no fault of the defendant. He was 17 at the time and was clearly acting with others.

‘The defendant is genuinely remorseful and has been sickened and saddened by his behaviour on that occasion.

May, now aged 19, was locked up in a young offenders’ institute for two years and 11 months

‘He experienced trauma during his formative years and acted in an extremely immature way which was heavily influenced by peer pressure. ‘

Sentencing Judge Michael Leeming told May: ‘You recklessly stole from a shop in broad daylight and then ran into a member of the public who was trying to stop you.

‘He was only going about his business and doing his shopping when he came into contact with you.

‘Before this incident Mr Haworth was the sort of man who would not think twice before helping people.

‘You ruined his life for 17 months and must bear responsibility for that.’

May was also subject to a restraining order banning him from going less than 50m from the Michael Kors shop on New Cathedral Street, Manchester.

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