— Frank Marchington, 83, was attacked as he walked to the pub in Failsworth
The family of an elderly special forces veteran with Alzheimer’s who was mugged for his treasured wrist watch have spoken of their anger in a fresh appeal.
Frank Marchington’s wife Lily and his daughter Deborah blasted the ‘disgusting’ attack which happened as Frank, 83, walked to his local pub in Failsworth, near Oldham.
Frank, a father-of-four and great-grandfather, served with the Royal Marines for 23 years and was part of the elite Special Boat Service unit.
He was given the Omega Constellation diving replica watch by the Marines after completing a special assignment in Bahrain. It’s worth £4,000, but is priceless to Frank and his family.
He was walking towards the Nelson Tavern on the corner of Lord Lane and Hulmes Road in Failsworth, but never arrived.
He was jumped from behind then punched in the head by a thug who also stole his wallet.
Confused and shaken, Frank staggered home at around 9.30pm, telling his wife of 58 years Lily that no one was in the pub.
He told his family the following day and police were alerted. The attack took place on April 4. His family have now spoken to the BBC in a fresh appeal on Crimewatch Roadshow.
Lily said: “He has had the replica watch all these years and then someone just takes it. It is disgusting. He did not wear it everyday. He just must have fancied putting it on that night.”
Frank, who has also relived the ordeal for the first time as part of the new appeal, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2005 and need constant care from his family.
His daughter Deborah added: “He is a proud man. A few years ago nobody would have taken that watch from him. He was angry and upset.”
Veteran Frank – who served in countries including Malta and Singapore – said: “He just come from behind, hit me and knocked me to the floor. He took my watch and, obviously, my wallet.”
Police have issued a fresh appeal for witnesses. Investigating officers said because of Frank’s dementia, he wasn’t appeal to give a full description.
Pc Lee Cullen said a second attacker may have been involved. He said: “The watch meant a lot to Frank. He had it for 50 years. We think that this could have been a targeted attack and that he could have told somebody in the community about the watch. He was a very vulnerable man.”
The watch, which has a bronze face, was in very good condition and was kept in a box. It has a triangle stamp on the back of the face, alongside the words ‘Dennison’.
After reading the initial story of his attack in the M.E.N. the Special Boat Service Association is having a unique replacement watch made for him.
Police fear it could be offered for sale on the black market and appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
Call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.