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Mugging victim moves into new home

Published 17/04/2015

Alan Barnes with Katie Cutler who set up the online fund
Alan Barnes with Katie Cutler who set up the online fund

Disabled pensioner Alan Barnes whose mugging caused outrage has moved into his new house thanks to donations he received from around the world.

The 4ft6in visually-impaired 67-year-old has picked up the keys for a £150,000 two-bedroom terraced house in Low Fell, Gateshead.

He was given £330,000 when an online appeal after he was attacked in January went viral, with people keen to help him after drug addict Richard Gatiss broke his collar bone.

Mr Barnes felt unsafe in the his former home in a complex for elderly and disabled people, and had been living with his sister while he recuperated.

He has now returned to Low Fell, where he is well-known, and was delighted with his new home - the first he has ever owned.

He told the BBC: "It is overwhelming, (it's) amazing such a thing could happen.

"It is a bit unbelievable."

Speaking about the generosity people have shown, he said: "I have not wasted the money, I have put it to good use.

"I have somewhere nice to live."

Gatiss was jailed for four years earlier this month at Newcastle Crown Court. He was trying to get money to buy legal highs when he attacked Mr Barnes who was putting his bins out.

The online fund was set up by local beautician Katie Cutler, 21, who initially hoped to raise £500, enough to buy new carpets or curtains.

But the appeal went viral and his family called a halt when the total reached £330,000.

Many donors also left messages expressing their disgust that such a vulnerable man could be attacked.

Mr Barnes's disabilities were caused when his mother contracted German measles during pregnancy.

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