A VIOLENT man whose vicious assault punctured the lung of a pensioner has been sent to prison for eight years.

James George Withrow, 27, of Bower Street, Harrogate, was found guilty of grievous bodily harm and attempted robbery following a week-long trial in December, and sentenced at York Crown Court on Monday.

The court heard that in the early hours of October 27, 2012, Withrow approached his victim, who was 66 at the time and is now 68, from behind in Regent Terrace, Harrogate, grabbed his arm and demanded his bank card and PIN.

He then pushed his victim to the ground and repeatedly kicked him, puncturing his lung, breaking his nose and inflicting a cut to the back of his head.

Detective Constable Claire Brown, of Harrogate CID, who investigated the case, said: “Withrow was found guilty of a cowardly and vicious attack on an elderly man who was unable to defend himself. It is pleasing that the court has imposed a sentence which reflects the seriousness of Withrow’s actions and the eight years in jail he is facing is the least he deserves.

“The victim sustained some very serious injuries in what was an extremely frightening experience for him and I hope that Withrow’s sentence allows him some comfort in the knowledge that justice has been done.”