Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Two men hoped to make money out of filming elderly people being verbally abused in the Lowestoft and Gorleston areas, a court was told.
Ian Hatwell was filmed by Scott King as he went up to elderly people and swore at them and blew an airhorn in their faces.
The elderly victims were said to have been shocked and sickened by the abuse they suffered at the hands of Hatwell as he was filmed by King.
Yesterday, both men pleaded guilty to causing a public nuisance and told they could face life imprisonment when they are sentenced at a later date for what was described as a highly unusual offence.
Lowestoft Magistrates’ Court heard Hatwell, 31, of Compass Street, Lowestoft, and Scott King, 29, of Clarkson Road, Norwich, heard they targeted elderly victims in 2011 to make a DVD of their reactions as a quick way to make money.
Corinne Gook-Hurren, prosecuting, said their crimes came to light after officers found the DVD, which had 16 minutes of footage of mainly Hatwell abusing victims as King drove him around in a car and recorded him on camera.
A lap top computer was then found with further shocking images.
She said images showed Hatwell going up to elderly people in the street and abusing them, knocking on people’s doors and blowing an airhorn straight into occupants faces, setting off a rape alarm in Tesco and throwing a liquid into an elderly person’s face,
Mrs Gook-Hurren said: “They were all subject to abuse.”
One image shows a elderly woman in Kessingland being abused and told “to have a short life”.
A victim statement said the woman “felt sick at what she had been called”.
Another victim identified by police was a security guard at the Pontins holiday camp in Pakefield who had a hearing aid and was seen having an airhorn blown into his face as he was filmed.
The incident left the man “shocked”.
A third victim was seen to have liquid thrown at him as he was working on a wall in Florence Road, Pakefield.
The court was told PC Kevin Durrant had investigated the images and he had found the footage “completely abhorrent”.
As well as the Lowestoft and Gorleston areas the court heard that Hatwell and King had also carried out their cruel stunts in the Kent area.
Mrs Gook-Hurren said that in a police interview Hatwell said he admitted he had gone “over the line” in filming the images and his accomplice said “they generally picked on elderly people to get a better reaction”.
Hatwell and King both admitted causing a nuisance to the public by making DVDS for themselves and others performing acts which were dangerous and caused a nuisance.
Mrs Gook-Hurren told the court that effectively the offence carried a sentence of life imprisonment and that is was an unusual crime.
She added: “This is something I have never come across before.”
Magistrates declined to sentence Hatwell and King and their cases were sent to Ipswich Crown Court, where they will be sentenced at a later date
Both men were bailed.
Richard Mann, representing Hatwell, said: “He realises it was juvenile, pathetic, childish. He saw he could make some quick money out of it. It is an unusual offence, awful.”
Mr Mann said his client was “hugely remorseful” over what he had done three years ago.
King represented himself in court and said as a father he was “disgusted” by what he had done in what he called a “stupid part of his life”.
After the court case a spokesman for Suffolk police said: “There is no doubt that their behaviour, as demonstrated by the DVD, would have caused distress to the people targeted, with older residents being subjected to verbal abuse at the roadside and, in some cases, an air horn being used to frighten people.
“They will now have to face the consequences of their actions and we hope this will go some way to reassuring those who were subjected to these incidents.”