Murder probe as Rotherham pensioner dies five months after beating by robbers

SIX months have passed since great-grandfather Tommy Ward was brutally beaten in his Rotherham home, leaving his family 'heartbroken and devastated'.

Tommy Ward.

Yesterday, on the anniversary of attack on the 80-year-old former miner, detectives launched a murder appeal as they renewed their attempts to find those responsible.

Mr Ward, who weighed just nine stone, died on February 23 in Rotherham Hospital, where he had been receiving treatment in the months after the incident.

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During the attack at his home in Maltby, on October 1, Mr Ward was left for dead with a smashed skull, broken ribs and a fractured jaw, and around £30,000 and a safety deposit box was taken.

South Yorkshire Police said a post-mortem examination proved to be inconclusive, and it is awaiting the results of additional tests to establish the exact cause of his death, but it is now investigating the incident as murder.

Detective Inspector Richard Partridge said: “Exactly six months ago, 80-year-old Tommy Ward was attacked in his own home on Salisbury Road, robbed and left seriously injured by his cowardly attackers.

“Tommy sadly passed away last month and his family have been left heartbroken and devastated, with the untold feeling of grief and sadness knowing Tommy will never be able to see his attackers brought to justice and behind bars.”

Following the attack, which Det Insp Partridge said “shocked” the tight-knit community, some 2,250 members of the public donated more than £30,000 to replace his lost life savings in an online appeal.

A safety deposit box similar to the one taken was found in the Kilnhurst area of Rotherham two weeks after the attack.

Five people were arrested in connection with the attack but later released.

Det Insp Partridge made an appeal directly to those who might hold the key to finding the attackers. He said: “Tommy did not deserve this and his family have the right to know why their much-loved father, grandfather, uncle, brother was brutally attacked in his own home.

“Someone knows what happened that night in October. I would ask that person to consider how they would feel if this had happened to a member of their family. How would you feel knowing your elderly relative had been robbed and beaten in his own home?

“Whoever is responsible for such a vicious attack on a vulnerable man does not deserve to be shielded by anyone, and I would again ask, even if you feel your information is not that significant, please make contact with us as the smallest detail could be vital to our investigation.”

Det Insp Partridge added: Can you remember a family member or friend behaving strangely in the days following the attack? Did you see anyone with blood stained clothes, or anyone suddenly in possession of large amounts of cash?

“While we may have made arrests, the investigation is still incredibly active and very much on-going and I would encourage anyone, even with the slightest piece of information, to please get in touch with us.”