Family's plea on pensioner mugging

By Roddy AshworthA FAMILY have appealed for help in tracking down the robbers who savagely kicked and beat a pensioner before fleeing with a small amount of loose change.

By Roddy Ashworth

A FAMILY has pleaded for the public's help in tracking down the robbers who savagely kicked and beat a pensioner before fleeing with a small amount of loose change.

Second World War veteran Doug Bell, 82, was knocked to the ground and set upon as he made his way to an evening computer course in Colchester.

Mr Bell had only moved to the Essex town because his family were concerned for his safety while he was living in London.

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He was joined at the weekend by his daughter, Janet Morris, and 15-year-old grand-daughter Sally in appealed for the public to come forward with information about the vicious attack, which happened at about 7pm on February 10.

Mr Bell was walking between Leisure World and Catchpool Road, Colchester, when he was struck from behind by his assailants.

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They pulled his coat around his head and kicked and punched the pensioner before rummaging through his pockets to steal about £4 in change, his keys and his debit card.

A passer-by found the stricken widower, who was then taken to hospital by ambulance with a dislocated shoulder and head wounds.

Mrs Morris said: "I think it's disgusting someone can prey on vulnerable individuals like this. It could be a mother, a father, a grandmother or a grandfather.

"There are real monsters out there who are prepared to do anything for their wants. These people use violence first. They did a very thorough job of debilitating him - there was no way he could hear or see them.

"We hope that somebody's memory will be jogged and they will come forward. Next time they could break bones. They get confident and it gets worse. They could kill someone."

Mrs Morris, a solicitor's assistant, said there was a record of her father's debit card being put in a cash machine in High Street, Colchester, shortly after the attack and police added were currently studying CCTV images.

Her daughter Sally said she had been "really upset" by the robbery of her grandfather. "I really didn't think it could happen to my granddad. They must be really horrible people to do it," she added.

Mr Bell, who has been recuperating at his daughter's home since he came out of hospital four days after the attack, said he had left London 12 years ago at her request because she feared it was so dangerous on the streets of the capital.

Recalling his terrifying ordeal, Mr Bell said: "They reckon it might have been more than one person now. I can't doubt it because the person who rolled me over was only the one man, but whoever gave me the kicking certainly knew what they were doing.

"Being a Scotsman, I'm very protective of my money, so I gave them the wrong pin number. It's going back to highway robbery."

The retired electrical engineer and bus driver added: "I have been going out in the car with Janet and I have walked up and down the road.

"They are not going to get me down. I'm going to go out. Having had six years of war, this is nothing."

An Essex Police spokeswoman said officers were keen to hear from anyone with information about the attack.

She added: "It could have been one or more attackers. It was a vicious attack and because of the speed at which it happened it has never been clear how many people were involved."

Anyone with information should contact Colchester police on 01206 762212.

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