“He died in pain and FEAR” – Family of 90-year-old war veteran pen open letter to his attacker after he died
The family of 90-year-old war hero attacked in his mobility scooter have written an open letter to his jailed attacker saying he died five months later – in pain and FEAR.
Great grandfather Ron Walker was assaulted in an unprovoked attack in his home town in April – after being accused of running over a man’s foot.
But the veteran – who served in Palestine and Suez during a distinguished military career – died last week after never getting over the emotional trauma.
And his devastated family have now penned an open letter to his jailed attacker Kevin Williams and told him “because of you he died in pain and fear.”
His heartbroken granddaughter Natalie told Williams: “Because of you… Because of you my grandfather’s last few months were lived in pain and fear.
“Because of you he lost his pride, dignity and trust in others. Because of you he became angry and confused.
“Because of you we were by his side, while he died afraid.”
Mr Walker, a well-known army veteran and MoD dog handler known by his family as ‘Pop’, died last Wednesday morning.
Williams, 42, of Torquay attacker was jailed for 20 months after he admitted ABH following the incident in Torquay, Devon.
Exeter Crown Court was told how Williams repeatedly punched and then kicked Mr Walker after claiming he had run over his foot in his mobility scooter.
Witnesses saw Williams raise his arm with a clenched fist and punch Mr Walker three times in the face and then kick him in the shin so hard that his scooter almost tipped over.
In sentencing him, Judge Graham Cottle said: “It was a completely unprovoked attack. You claimed he ran over your foot and proceeded to attack him and verbally abuse him.
“You seemed completely unperturbed by what you had done, which was witnessed by a number of people.”
And after his death Natalie said her grandfather had suffered greatly from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
She added: “We knew this day would come, but not how it would come.
“The last five months of his life he suffered both physically and emotionally just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”
Mr Walker started work as a farmhand at the age of 13, before moving onto the railways.
He enlisted into the British Army and was posted to Palestine as part of the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers to keep transport networks open, due to his experience on the railways.
From Palestine he was posted to Suez before returning to England as a sergeant training recruits.
He left the army and met Alice, his wife. He worked for the Automobile Association before joining Longmoor Military Railway in Hampshire, and then discovered his new calling and became a dog handler for the MoD until his retirement, when he moved to Torquay.
Natalie added: “Ron Walker, or as I knew him Pop, was a humble man. He never liked to be the centre of attention and lived his life pretty anonymously, spreading cheer and happiness through Torquay with a smile or a sweet.
“He connected with many people, sharing stories of his army days, or his time as a dog handler for the Ministry of Defence.
“He was a wonderful father, grandfather and great grandfather and will be greatly missed.”
On the day of the attack businessman John Doherty, who runs Dot’s Pantry, helped look after Mr Walker.
Mr Doherty knew Mr Walker well.
He said: “Ron was my first ever customer in Dot’s Pantry. Whenever I had a chance I would have a cup of tea with him. He was a lovely old boy.
“Since the attack, every time I’ve seen him he has looked less and less well. It clearly had an affect on his health.”
A funeral service will take place on Monday, September 26, at 11.15am at Torbay Crematorium and a collection will be held for Help for Heroes