Tyne & Wear

Alan Barnes gets keys to new home after online appeal

Alan Barnes with the key to his new home
Image caption Mr Barnes had said he felt unsafe in his previous property

A disabled pensioner who had more than £300,000 raised for him after he was attacked has picked up the keys to his new house.

Alan Barnes, 67, suffered a broken collarbone when he was attacked outside his old Gateshead home, in January.

An online appeal, launched by beautician Katie Cutler, led to donations to Mr Barnes from people around the world.

He said it was "hard to put into words" how "really grateful" he was.

Following the attack, Mr Barnes said he felt unsafe in his previous home.

He was born with disabilities after his mother contracted German measles while she was pregnant. He is visually impaired and stands 4ft 6in (1.21m) tall.

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Media captionAlan Barnes said the new house was "very compact"

Mr Barnes said the new house was "very compact".

"Thank you doesn't seem to sum it up, but basically that is all I can say, I'm a bit overwhelmed and I'm just getting used to the idea of having a home of my own to live in," he said.

At Newcastle Crown Court earlier this month, Richard Gatiss, also from Gateshead, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to assault with intent to rob Mr Barnes.

He had been desperate for money to buy legal highs but fled empty-handed when Mr Barnes shouted for help, the court was told.

The 25-year-old was traced by police after they recovered forensic evidence from Mr Barnes' jacket pocket.

Image caption Katie Cutler launched an online appeal for Alan Barnes, initially aiming for £500

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