A retired caretaker who died after he was robbed at his home on Christmas Day has been described as a “smashing fella”.
The 61-year-old - named locally as Stephen Starkey - was attacked at his home in the Lowedges area of Sheffield on December 25 by a man who took a PlayStation 3 console and cash from him.
His friend and neighbour Derek Wilkinson, 79, described how Mr Starkey managed to get over the road to his house to raise the alarm after he was assaulted on Christmas morning.
Mr Wilkinson said he called the emergency services after his friend described how he was barged to the ground by someone who called at his door.
Mr Wilkinson said that Mr Starkey lived by himself and had been attacked earlier this year in a similar incident.
He said: “This bloke had come and knocked him down in the doorway and pinched his things off him.
“He (the victim) come over to me and we rung for ambulances and police and things like that.
“He was very shook up.
“He’d done his shoulder, cracked his shoulder, I think, and they’d knocked him about.”
Mr Wilkinson said he had lived in the street for 40 years and his friend had been in the house where he lived by himself for 30 years.
He said: “I knew him very well - a very big friend of mine.
“He was a smashing fella. He was a very nice fella and he’ll be missed.”
Mr Wilkinson said his friend used to work locally as a caretaker for the council’s housing department but had retired.
He said: “It’s a very quiet area usually. Fairly quiet. They’re all bought properties, mainly.”
Asked what he thought about the person who attacked his friend, he said: “I wouldn’t like to say.”
Other neighbours said Mr Starkey was not in good health and frail. Police described him as vulnerable.
South Yorkshire Police confirmed a 61-year-old man had died in hospital after he was attacked on Christmas Day.
A spokesman said: “At around 10.30am on Thursday December 25, a 61-year-old man was inside his home in Reney Crescent, Lowedges, when he answered a knock at his door.
“An unknown man is reported to have entered the property, assaulting the 61-year-old and taking a PlayStation 3 and cash before fleeing the scene.
“The 61-year-old was taken to hospital to be treated for his injuries where he later died.
“His family have been informed and officers are providing support.”
He said a 37-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the incident and is in police custody.
Yesterday, as Mr Starkey was still fighting for his life in hospital and before an arrest was made, Detective Inspector Richard Partridge said the assault took place “on Christmas Day in broad daylight”.
He said: “We believe that the suspect deliberately targeted this man’s house, forcing his way into the property and injuring a vulnerable member of the community before stealing valuables.”
Today the only sign of the attack at Mr Starkey’s mid-terrace home was the fingerprinting powder left around his front door by the police.
His house is in an estate of houses on the southern edge of the city, not far from the main A61 route to Chesterfield.
Since the incident, Mr Starkey’s small front garden, which is lined with potted plants, has had a covering of snow.