Mentally-ill student sentenced for attacking Sheffield pensioner in the street

A mentally-ill Colombian student who viciously attacked a 75-year-old stranger as he walked down a Sheffield street has been sentenced to a hospital order.

Tuesday, 14th March 2017, 4:59 pm
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 10:04 am
Cristian Bonilla-Puentes, 26, has been sentenced for one charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

Sheffield Crown Court was told how 26-year-old Cristian Bonilla-Puentes, of St George's Hospital, Netherthorpe approached Bob Goddard as the pensioner was on his way to the gym on the morning of September 12 last year.

During this morning's sentencing, prosecutor Nicola Quinney said: "He [Mr Goddard] heard someone running behind him and repeatedly punched him to the face.

"This caused him to fall to the floor. He [Bonilla-Puentes] then kicked him. Mr Goddard smashed into a fence as he went down, according to his neighbour."

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Shortly afterwards the police were called and Mr Goddard grabbed Bonilla-Puentes' foot, telling him that he would let it go as long as he promised not to run away, the court heard.

Ms Quinney added: "He seems to have come to his senses at this point and said: 'I'm sorry, I don't know what I'm doing'."

Mr Goddard suffered cuts and bruises to his face and his abdomen in the attack.

Bonilla-Puentes, who suffers from bipolar disorder, was arrested by police shortly afterwards and a knife was found on the 26-year-old when he was searched by officers.

The court was told how after being taken into custody, Bonilla Puentes, who came to Britain as a student, suffered what Ms Quinney described as a 'psychotic episode,' and has subsequently been receiving treatment from mental health professionals.

Following the incident Mr Goddard was informed of Bonilla-Puentes' mental-health problems, which the 75-year-old said went 'some way to explain' the defendant's actions.

Speaking in a victim impact statement delivered to the court, Mr Goddard said: "I no longer feel as frightened, knowing it wasn't a targeted attack.

"I hope he gets the help he needs."

The court was told that Bonilla-Puentes, who pleaded guilty to one count of assault occasioning actual bodily harm at a previous hearing, has no previous convictions in Britain, or his home country of Colombia.

Following recommendations from three psychiatrists that have assessed Bonilla-Puentes, Recorder David Kelly sentenced the 26-year-old to a hospital order, under Section 27 of the Mental Health Act.

Commenting on the attack, Recorder Kelly told the defendant: "It is clear that you were unwell, it is clear that you suffer from bipolar disorder and so there's no purpose in me stating the reason that you gave for the attack.

"You are a Colombian national who is here for the purposes of study and I have decided not to recommend deportation but you should know that I do not recommend deportation because it is not appropriate for me to comment. I think it's more appropriate that the Secretary of State for Home makes that decision having heard the circumstances."