The daughter of an elderly woman who died after being pushed over in a Welwyn Garden City bank has admitted to feeling 'let down' by the sentencing of her killer.

Myra Coutinho-Lopez died in hospital, after being pushed over and injured by Courtney Richman, following an argument in Lloyds Bank in Howardsgate on Monday, December 6, 2021.

Richman, of George Court in Welwyn Garden City, was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 21 months after appearing at Luton Crown Court on May 31.

The 26-year-old was also given a rehabilitation requirement lasting between 15 to 25 days, and was ordered to complete 180 hours of unpaid work.

She denied manslaughter and an alternative lesser charge of inflicting grievous bodily harm, following the death of 82-year-old Myra Coutinho-Lopez, but was found guilty by a jury on February 29.

Now, Ms Coutinho-Lopez's daughter, Michelle Lopez, has appealed the sentencing, claiming "it was too lenient".

Speaking to the Welwyn Hatfield Times, she said she felt "let down" by the sentence handed out to Richman, describing it as "rehabilitation and not punishment".

"It's been almost three years of pain and it's been gruelling hearing all the details," she said.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Myra Coutinho-Lopez.Myra Coutinho-Lopez. (Image: Herts police) 

"I was hoping that the court would look at the case and say 'this is not an upstanding citizen and they need to pay for their actions'.

"Rehabilitation is personal development, it's not punishment, because that would be consequences for the act committed. I don't think the judge gave her any punishment really. The sentence she got is centred around social interaction and rehabilitation.

"I'm really disappointed because I feel like the police did their job really well, as did the Crown Prosecution Service, who said no stone would be left unturned, and they did that. The jury too, my thanks goes out to them because they saw this case for what it was.

"The judge then just let her walk free. I have appealed the decision stating it was too lenient.

"I feel let down. It's upsetting. If this is the kind of punishment for someone who pushes over an elderly person then what hope do we have?"

Ms Coutinho-Lopez, who was 82 and suffered with dementia, had attended the bank to withdraw money but became confused when presented with her bank statements.

As the staff tried to help, a queue of other customers began to form, including Richman.

Welwyn Hatfield Times: Myra Coutinho-Lopez.Myra Coutinho-Lopez. (Image: Michelle Lopez)

An argument broke out between the two over the length of time that Ms Coutinho-Lopez was taking, with Richman sarcastically clapping. The victim then swung her handbag towards Richman who was hit by it as she turned away.

It was after this moment that Richman pushed the victim with both hands, causing her to fall and land on the floor.

Judge Michael Simon said "a lack of understanding" by bank staff had allowed the situation to escalate.

"The court calls on the banking sector as a whole to ensure that all customer-facing staff are provided with dementia awareness training, which includes recognised strategies for interacting with customers who experience such difficulties and for defusing conflict," he added.

Lloyds said it would consider the judge's comments and the evidence given during the trial, with Michelle believing the bank and branch could have done more.

"Before this even happened to my mum, I went and spoke to the staff. I have the lasting power of attorney and I went personally to speak with them," she said. 

"I told them 'you have to listen because social services are involved here and my mum is on a safeguarding list, even though she's independent and looks well'. This was an important thing.

"I wanted to put a cap on how much she could withdraw from the account so there was always something left in the account and she wouldn't be confused. It would also force them to call me when she came in, because she was independent and I couldn't always keep tabs on her all the time.

"She used to walk down to the town, do her shopping, and she would routinely go into Lloyds bank, maybe like three times a week, so they knew her very well.

"When this happened, the CCTV footage showed how dismissive they were on that day, as the judge said. I could see it coming and I tried to get them to listen, but we were being given very generalised comments.

"They told us staff had dementia training, so we want to know what happened on that day. Their slogan is 'by your side', but we feel like they weren't by my mum's side or mine."

A Lloyds Bank spokesperson: "This is a very sad case and our thoughts continue to be with Mrs Coutinho-Lopez’s family."