Six-year sentence for drunk who killed great-grandmother with a push
Son of 80-year-old victim says her death has "left a gaping hole in our family"
28 September, 2018 — By William McLennan
An alcohol-addicted aspiring actor who killed a great-grandmother during a drunken rampage has been handed a six-year prison sentence.
Harry Sims, 29, ran at 80-year-old Ourania Lambrou in Camden Road at around 2pm on March 31 and pushed her in the chest.
She fell to the ground and, two days later, died from a brain haemorrhage, having fractured a vertebrae.
He pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Inner London Crown Court heard that on the day of the attack, Sims was “heavily intoxicated” and had been seen stumbling into the road, attempting to stop passing cars.
Prosecutor Brian O’Neill QC said that he “charged” towards a group of people gathered at the bus stop near the Esso petrol station.
He “came directly towards [Ms Lambrou], pushing her forcefully in the chest with both hands”.
Speaking to her daughter, before the severity of her injuries had been detected, Ms Lambrou said it “felt like the devil was coming towards me”.
Sims then stumbled down Sandall Road and attacked another elderly woman, who was using a walking stick and carrying an umbrella.
Mr O’Neill said: “He grabs her umbrella from her hands, hurting her hand as he does so. He then throws the umbrella into the road saying: ‘I’m going to fucking kill her.’.”
CCTV showed Sims, wearing a long coat and a wide-brimmed hat, staggering into traffic.
Sims then returned to Camden Road and was tackled to the ground by a police officer, who had been called to the scene.
Ms Lambrou was taken to University College Hospital, but discharged after medics failed to notice a fractured rib and vertebrae.
She returned home to Gaisford Street and spent much of the next two days in bed, before her granddaughter found her lying unconscious. She was rushed to the Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead, but pronounced dead on April 3.
In a statement, read to the court, her granddaughter, Georgia Panagi, said: “My grandmother wasn’t your typical 80-year-old woman, she was strong and independent. She wasn’t a frail old woman.”
She said she was “sassy, but polite,” adding: “She was a very unique character.”
Another granddaughter said that her death had left a “gaping hole in our soul,” adding: “It wasn’t my grandmothers’ time to go. She was ripped away from us.”
Her son, Peter Lambrou, said: “The loss of my mother to our family is indescribable. She was a strong and independent woman who made our family her life.
“Her untimely death has left a gaping hole in our family that can never be filled.”
In custody, Sims had remained “uncooperative throughout, swearing and abusive throughout”, Mr O’Neill said.
He was so drunk that he was “not able to stand of his own volition” and officers arranged to transport Sims to hospital for treatment.
“He attempt to punch a female police officer,” Mr O’Neil said. “He was restrained by an officer. His reaction to that was to turn and spit directly in [the officer’s] face.”
The court heard that Sims had a history of heavy drinking dating back to the age of 15.
He had amassed 24 convictions for 36 offences.
In mitigation, Nicholas Cotter described the “pathetic and miserable nature” of Sims’ life.
“He is not a victim, I assert that, but he is a man blighted by a disease from a young age. That disease is alcoholism.”
He said that Sims’ guilty plea was “an acceptance of what he did,” adding: “It is an acceptance from him of his remorse”.
Referring to his history of alcohol-fuelled offending, Her Honour Judge Usha Karu said: “This time your drunkenness has resulted in the tragic death of an 80-year-old woman.”
She added: “One witness described you as ‘charging as if he was going into a rugby scrum’.”
The court heard that Ms Lambrou suffered whiplash-type injuries, which had been caused by the “sudden acceleration and deceleration” of being pushed to the ground.
Judge Karu said: “Unfortunately the fractures had not been detected at the hospital when Ms Lambrou was first taken there.”
Sentencing Sims to six years for manslaughter and a further two months for assaulting a police officer, she said: “Spitting at a police officer is a particularly disgusting attack. It has become all too prevalent.”
Speaking after the hearing, Ms Lambrou’s son, Peter, said: “He got what he deserves. A bit more would have been nice, but we’re please he’s off the streets.”