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Harassment charge youth locked up

A teenager who persistently harassed a 64-year-old man with severe learning difficulties up to the day of his death has been ordered to serve 16 weeks in a Young Offenders Institution.

David Askew collapsed after confronting youths in his garden in Hattersley, Greater Manchester, in March this year and died shortly after.

Officers were called after reports that youngsters were causing a disturbance at the house he shared with his brother Brian - who also suffers learning difficulties - and wheelchair-bound 89-year-old mother Rose.

Kial Cottingham, 19, who lived doors away from the family, pleaded guilty to harassing Mr Askew for cigarettes over a three-month period.

He initially pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He gave a television interview the day after Mr Askew's death in which he claimed he was "shocked" about the incident and said he would often step in to deter other local youths from constantly haranguing him.

Cottingham was also questioned on suspicion of manslaughter but was cleared of any involvement in Mr Askew's death.

Mr Askew was later found to have died of natural causes.

Following his death it emerged that he and his family had been subjected to prolonged anti-social behaviour and harassment for a number of years.

Appearing before Tameside magistrates, Cottingham admitted using intimidating, threatening and aggressive behaviour in order to get cigarettes from Mr Askew who was referred to by local youths as "Dopey Dave". An original charge that he also demanded money between the same dates of January 25 and March 10 was dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service.

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