Patrick Murphy, 77, was left bruised all over his face (Picture: Basingstoke Gazette/Solent News and Photo Agency)

A Royal Navy veteran says he is afraid to go out after dark since a gang of teenagers attacked him and stole his shopping. Patrick Murphy, 77, was left with severe bruising to his face and body after he was knocked to the ground by the boys. They cycled off laughing after stealing from him and leaving him injured. Grandfather-of-four Mr Murphy had been to the supermarket after watching the Ashes cricket on TV. The pensioner, from Basingstoke, Hampshire, said: ‘I heard a cyclist coming so I went to move out of the way then suddenly it was “whack’, “whack”, “whack” around the head. Next thing I was on the floor and my shopping had gone.’ He was left on the ground in pain while the thugs cycled off ‘laughing and shouting’ with his shopping.

The boys cycled off shouting and laughing (Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency)

With no one else around, Mr Murphy picked himself up and took himself home. He said he was initially in shock and didn’t call the police because he ‘didn’t want to cause any bother.’ On Sunday, he spent the day with a bag of frozen peas on his face. And because his groceries had been robbed, he had no fresh food in. Mr Murphy only reported the crime two days later after a friend urged him to. He says his one question to his attackers would be: ‘Are you proud of yourselves, for attacking a pensioner?’ The former serviceman, who was in the Navy for 11 years, praised the police who arrived quickly on the Monday morning and took him straight to hospital. ‘I had a police officer either side of me, it was like having bodyguards,’ he joked.

The grandfather-of-four now says he is now too afraid to venture out of his house at night (Picture: Solent News & Photo Agency)

When news of the attack became public kindhearted people from his community began fundraising money to pay for Patrick’s stolen shopping. To date they have raised more than £900. But because the retired seaman and former oil rig diver isn’t on any social media sites, he had no idea until a friend told him. Mr Murphy – whose face is still heavily bruised – said he was ‘gobsmacked’. He said: ‘I wasn’t expecting any of this at all. I just want to say thank you to everyone really. It has restored my faith in humanity.’ Neighbourhood inspector Richard Lane, of Hampshire Police, described the attack as an ‘appalling assault.’ He said: ‘Whilst this type of incident is extremely rare, this was an appalling assault on an elderly and vulnerable man. ‘We would appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity between 8.15pm and 9pm on Saturday, September 14 and who may have seen a group of four males on bikes in the area.’
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