‘Confused’ pensioner with Alzheimer’s died after being pushed in bank queue, court hears


A “confused” pensioner with Alzheimer’s disease died after she was pushed over in a bank by a 26-year-old who was angry she had held up the queue, a court has heard.

Myra Coutinho-Lopez, 82, was a regular customer at Lloyds Bank in Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire, and was well-known to the staff, but sometimes became confused because of her illness, Luton Crown Court heard.

She died on Dec 16 2021, 10 days after she had been pushed to the floor of the bank by Courtney Richman, after the 26-year-old had a “catastrophic loss of temper”, the court heard.

Mrs Coutinho-Lopez had gone to the bank on Monday Dec 6, but had forgotten she had already withdrawn money on the previous Friday, prosecutor Martin Mulgrew told the jury.

“Mrs Coutinho-Lopez became worried and asked the cashier to show her the balance,” he said.

Another member of staff also came over to try to reassure her, he said, and a queue formed.

‘Move out of the way’

The court heard that one customer, Courtney Richman, said: “There is nothing they can do. Move out of the way.”

It was alleged that Ms Richman became more angry and added: “Hurry up – people don’t have all day.”

Another customer, who had been using a cash machine, offered to help the elderly woman. As she walked the 82-year-old away, Ms Richman is alleged to have said “oh thank God”, and sarcastically applauded.

When Mrs Coutinho-Lopez passed Ms Richman in the queue she told her: “Don’t speak to me like that – you are very rude.” She swung her handbag and struck the defendant, the court heard.

Mr Mulgrew said: “The defendant reacted in a wholly inappropriate and unreasonably violent manner. She angrily pushed Mrs Coutinho-Lopez forcefully to the floor of the bank. She struck the floor with some force.”

He went on: “The red mist descended on this defendant and she reacted in a wholly inappropriate fashion to this vulnerable old lady.”

Myra Coutinho-Lopez

Myra Coutinho-Lopez also suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Mrs Coutinho-Lopez suffered fractures of her left upper arm and thigh bone and bruising to her left upper arm, wrist, the tops of her fingers, and around her rib cage.

As well as Alzheimer’s, she suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

“If you push an 82-year-old woman to the floor of a bank there is going to be some risk,” said Mr Mulgrew.

“The prosecution say she unlawfully assaulted her and as a result of the fractures fatty substances were released in her body that caused damage to her lungs and brain,” he said.

In a prepared statement at the police station, Ms Richman said Mrs Coutinho-Lopez was being rude and directed her anger towards her and hit her. She said: “I was shocked and instinctively pushed her away. I feared she was going to assault me. I used open palms.”

Ms Richman denies manslaughter and another charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm.

The trial continues.

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