A grieving son who was battered and robbed as he placed flowers on the graves of his parents condemned his attacker as ‘the scum of the earth’ today.
Terence Boyle, 68, was ambushed from behind after the cowardly mugger –who had been lying in wait – spotted him tending to the final resting place of his mother Norah on the 19th anniversary of her death and also his father John who is buried beside her.
The retired factory worker put up a fight despite being grabbed by the neck, punched and wrestled to the ground, but he was overpowered and robbed of his wallet.
Mr Boyle called his brother for help on his mobile phone and was found leaning against a headstone suffering from severe shock and a cut to his mouth.
He escaped serious injury but was taken to hospital for a CAT scan to make sure there was no bleeding to the brain.
Today the shaken bachelor, from Gorton, Manchester said: “I’m sickened and disgusted at what this thug did to me. It seems you are never safe anywhere anymore.
”If you can’t be safe at your own mother’s graveside you can’t be safe anywhere. I make regular visits to the grave and I never miss any anniversaries, birthdays or Mother’s Day.
”My mum died of heart disease and I used to come here with my dad before he died and we used to sit on the bench and knock our thoughts about.
“On the day of the attack I went to reflect on our life together – now this day is just a bad memory.
”My mum would have been heartbroken, it probably would have seen her off if he had done this when she was poorly.
“But my view is you can’t let the scum of the earth like this yob beat you or you are letting them rule the world.
”There are too many of these people knocking about. They are the lowest of the low.”
Mr Boyle was attacked at 12.30pm on Saturday after he went to Gorton Cemetery to pay his respects to mother Norah who died on May 17 1995 from heart disease aged 85 and father John who died on 23rd February 2001, aged 89.
He had been in the graveyard for around an hour tidying the joint burial plot and placing flowers down when the man pounced and grabbed hold of his neck from behind.
The thug then reached into Mr Boyle’s pocket where his wallet which contained £140 cash was and pulled him to the ground before punching him twice in the face.
Mr Boyle, who has the condition atrial fibrillation which means he has an irregular heartbeat said: ”It is always very quiet that’s why I didn’t notice anybody until it was too late.
”I was tending to my parents’ graves and I was just about to leave. I was tidying up and the next minute I felt a hand on my collar and a hand in my back pocket.
“I was just cleaning the stone and changing the water and putting new flowers in. I was crouching over my wallet wasn’t and show then there was one hand on my collar around my throat.
“The other hand went in my pocket.
“I swung round and grabbed hold of the individual and there was a struggle and I fell to the ground. He was pulling me backwards and I fell backwards. I called him a few names.”
While on top of Mr Boyle, the thief who was described as ‘scruffy looking’ made threats to punch him which were then carried out and his glasses were knocked off.
He added: “He ended up on top of me after the struggle and he said ‘let go it I will hit you’. He warned me that if I didn’t let go of him he would punch me – which he did twice.
“My glasses had gone and I was all dazed then he made his way off. I got myself together onto my knees. There was nothing I could do about it, I felt so helpless.”
“I didn’t see a thing, I didn’t hear anything it was so quiet in the cemetery. He’s probably been lurking.
“I bet the whole episode didn’t last two minutes. I was very shaken, luckily my injuries will heal but the shock won’t.
”The shock will be there forever, for a long while. The whole episode just makes me sick. It’s your outlook on life and people – there is a doubt there now, who do I trust?
“It is not going to stop me coming to the cemetery but I will always have one eye over my shoulder. Words just fail me. He doesn’t deserve to live, to walk the same earth as decent living people.
”He has no concern over anything or anybody he just wanted money for himself.”
The mugger is described as white, of stocky build and aged between 35 and 40. He was about 5ft 8in tall and had short brown hair and had a ‘scruffy’ appearance.
He was wearing blue stonewash jeans and a navy jumper.
Det Con Michael O’Connor of Greater Manchester said: “The victim was tending to his mother’s grave on the anniversary of her death when inexplicably the offender has attacked and robbed him from behind.
“To attack a man at a graveside is an appalling act of cowardice and the actions of the person responsible smack of absolute desperation.
“This man needs to be caught and brought to justice and with the public’s help I am hopeful we can do that.”
Picture courtesy of Chris Palmer