A thug who pushed a 91-year-old woman to the ground and dragged her around in a horrific street mugging has been jailed.

Christopher Parker sneaked up on his elderly victim and attacked her from behind when she was just 100 metres from her home in Blyth, Northumberland.

Audrey Bremner was walking home after buying her partner a birthday card when she was pulled to the ground by the 33-year-old attacker on Brierley Road, on 4 October this year.

Newcastle Crown Court heard that when others came to Bremner's aid, Parker pretended he was helping her and even followed her home.

At some point Parker stole her purse while she was physically sick due to the attack.

The court was told that Bremner was taken to hospital and was left badly bruised, she then suffered a stroke and has not returned home since, after being relocated to a care home.

Parker, of Cowpen, Blyth, admitted assault with intent to rob and theft and has been jailed for four years and 10 months, after prosecutors failed to prove the attack caused the stroke.

Recorder Carl Gumsley told Parker, according to the Chronicle Live: "You deliberately followed her and in a cowardly attack you pushed her, trying to take hold of her handbag, which caused her to fall.

"You then returned, pretending perhaps to help her or going back for more, which is the view I take, you went back and picked her up forcefully and there was an element of dragging her about, no doubt to try to get the purse.

"You have had a significant and irretrievable impact on an elderly vulnerable lady."

The court was told that Parker had 84 previous convictions and his actions caused a psychological impact far greater than her physical injuries.

A victim statement from a family member read to the court heard that Bremner was "no longer the sprightly elderly person she had been" and is now "unable to care for herself".

Defending Parker, Shaun Routledge, told the court his client could not recall the incident, that he was "genuinely remorseful" and had been placed on a segregated wing in prison due to the nature of his crimes, reported the Chronicle.