War hero mugged - for just £4

AN 81-year-old war veteran was savagely beaten by a thug for his loose change.Doug Bell, who served in the Second World War with the Royal Naval Air Service, has spoken of his horrifying ordeal, which left him with a dislocated shoulder and severe facial bruising.

THIS is the bruised and battered face of an 81-year-old war veteran who was savagely beaten by a thug for his loose change.

Doug Bell, who served in the Second World War with the Royal Naval Air Service, has spoken of his horrifying ordeal, which left him with a dislocated shoulder and severe facial bruising.

The pensioner, from Colchester, was walking to a computer class in the town when a man crept up behind him and hit him over the head.

He was knocked to the ground by the mugger who repeatedly kicked and punched him before rummaging through his pockets to steal loose change, keys and a credit card.

But despite his injuries and the shock of the attack, the pensioner was smart enough to give out the wrong PIN number for his card when the man demanded it.

Colchester police have appealed to the public to come forward with any information which could help trace the culprit of Thursday's attack, which happened at about 7pm.

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Mr Bell was making his way to a course at the Otley College computer training centre in North Station Road.

He was attacked as he walked from the Leisure World car park, on a footpath at the bottom of Catchpool Road, near to the Castle Park cricket ground.

A passer-by found the stricken widower who was then taken to hospital by ambulance.

Speaking from his bed at Colchester General Hospital, Mr Bell said he had always felt quite safe in the town before the attack.

He said: “I cannot remember much of it, he hit me over the head with something. I think it was probably a plank of wood and it made me fall to the ground.

“He then rolled me over and started going through my pockets but I only had about £4 in loose change.

“He thought he had knocked me out but when I told him to leave me alone he started kicking me again.

“He did not say much, he just wanted to know what my PIN number was but I gave him the wrong one.”

Mr Bell said he did not hold out much hope of the robber being caught.

“I did not see much of him, I did not even hear him. The first thing I knew about it was when I was hit over the head.

“Who knows why they do these things? I felt safe before as I always travelled by car and it was only a short walk and the street lighting is not too bad.”

Although he lives alone in Colchester, Mr Bell's daughter has been there to support him during his hospital stay.

Police have been looking at CCTV images for clues and also have been testing Mr Bell's clothes for forensic clues.

Detective Constable Bob Sloan said: “The man was kicked and savagely beaten and was left covered in blood. It was a terrible, terrible attack and the culprit must be deranged.

“People use the area as a thoroughfare and anybody there at the time and may have seen anything should contact us or Crimestoppers. We are hopeful that the people of Colchester will be able to help on this one.”

Anyone with information should contact detectives at Colchester Police Station on 01206 762212 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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