A THUG targeted a partially sighted pensioner waiting for a bus and ripped her hat from her head.

The 72-year-old woman bravely stood up to Abdullah Duale when he leaned close to her at Bolton bus station, telling him, "you can't do that" as he pushed his face towards hers.

But angered, he then lunged at her head and grabbed her hat and hair.

As he was sentenced to 12 months in jail, Judge Timothy Stead told 32-year-old Duale: "Whilst it may be you were not in a position to note her sight deficit, you would certainly have been able to see that she was an elderly person on her own.

"You have deliberately targeted someone who is vulnerable."

Neil Ronan, prosecuting, told Bolton Crown Court how the woman had just missed her bus at 10.40pm on June 11 when Duale, who appeared drunk and staggering, approached her as she waited at Stand B for another one.

"She was suddenly aware of the defendant hovering over her," said Mr Ronan.

"She was shocked the defendant was so close because of the current coronavirus situation."

Duale ignored the woman telling him to stop and moved his face to within a foot of hers while mumbling and showing her a £5 note in his hand.

"He was not making any sense and she kept repeating that she wanted him to leave her alone, but he did not," said Mr Ronan. "He suddenly grabbed her hat and her hair with it."

The woman had her hair in a large bun under the headwear and Duale kept hold of both for a couple of minutes before releasing his grip, but taking the hat with him.

"I could not believe what was happening and was frightened to death," the woman later told police.

Despite her fear the woman went after Duale as he wandered around the bus station, demanding "give me my hat at once", but backed off when he became aggressive.

In a bid to seek help, the woman boarded one of the buses, but the driver did not come to her aid and so she found a well-built man to stand next to until police arrived.

When the woman's bus arrived she got on but was horrified to see Duale boarding as well, shouting and being aggressive to everyone.

"I was petrified again and got off the bus so I had some way of getting away if he came for me again," she said.

Soon afterwards officers arrived and arrested Duale and took him to Salford Royal Infirmary after he told them he had swallowed heroin and was going to die.

Duale continued being aggressive, verbally abusing one of the officers and shouting and abusing other patients and staff at the hospital.

"Never in my career have I been subject to such prolonged abuse and provocation and never have I been so disgusted in the foul language, vulgar comments and disrespectful behaviour made by any person that I have come into contact with," the officer said in a statement.

When questioned about the bus station incident, Duale said he was drunk on rum and was at the bus station to go to Manchester when he wanted to buy the hat from an old woman.

The court heard that Duale, of Shrewsbury Road, Heaton, has convictions for 42 offences, many of them thefts from people.

He pleaded guilty to theft, using threatening behaviour towards a police officer and possessing cannabis.

Wayne Jackson, defending, said: "For want of a better expression he was off his head on either alcohol or drugs or both" during the incident.

He appealed to the judge defer sentence so Duale can engage with substance misuse services.

But Judge Stead decided that the offence was so serious at he must be sent to prison.

The judge expressed "astonishment" that magistrates had previously fined Duale £150 for racially abusing Jewish patients while at the hospital instead of committing the case to the crown court to be dealt with alongside the other offences.