A Second World War veteran has died after robbers left him covered in bruises and with bleeds on the brain, after breaking into his home and stealing a £20 TV.
Peter Gouldstone, 98, was injured during the violent robbery at his home in north London last month and died in the early hours of Friday morning, the Metropolitan Police has said.
Attack victim Mr Gouldstone served in Italy during the Second World War before working for the Post Office as a telephone engineer, retiring around 1980.
Now shocked neighbours of Mr Gouldstone have called for justice and have said the crime is ‘unforgivable’.
Peter Gouldstone, 98, lies in a hospital bed with two bleeds on the brain after thugs broke into his house in Enfield, north London and beat him up so they could steal his television. Met Police have said today that Mr Gouldstone finally succumbed to his injuries and died
His son found him in a ‘semi-conscious state’ in his bedroom of his house where he had lived for more than 60 years early last month.
Thieves had broken in through the back door and dragged the elderly man around the property during the terrifying ordeal.
His son, Simon Gouldstone, a former civil servant, told reporters immediately following the November 6 attack: ‘The house was very cold, he was in amongst quite a lot of turmoil. He couldn’t communicate, he had bruising on his arms and face.
‘I don’t know how they can live with themselves. The sooner they’re locked up the better.’
His son also added that he had been left ‘shocked’ by the attack.
He said: ‘As a member of the family I’m shocked, as a member of the human race I’m lost for words at man’s inhumanity to man, I’m afraid.’
After beating the 98-year-old and dragging him around his home, thieves made off with this Panasonic TV, a similar model to which can be bought on eBay for just £20
He told reporters his father had worked on phone lines in Italy during the Second World War before going on to a career at the Post Office and retiring around 1980.
Neighbours in the quiet residential street expressed their disbelieve at the incident.
One man, who did not want to be named, said the crime was ‘unforgivable’.
He said: ‘Why? Why would someone do that to a 98-year-old? It doesn’t make sense. This is unforgivable.’
A pensioner is fighting for his life in hospital after he was attacked by robbers at his home
The 65-year-old, who has lived in the area for nearly 40 years, said he had not seen Mr Gouldstone in recent times but would remember him as a ‘nice, friendly gentleman’.
Patrick Stokes, who has lived on the street in Enfield for a year, said it was ‘terrible’ news.
The 26-year-old carpenter said: ‘I think it’s really safe round here, quiet and residential.’
He said whoever is responsible must be caught soon, adding: ‘They need to be brought to justice.’
Detective Inspector Paul Ridley, pictured with the victim’s son, said the level of violence used by the burglars was ‘completely excessive’
Shocked police say the level of violence meted out in the ‘brutal and senseless attack’ was ‘completely excessive’.
They released a picture of the Panasonic television taken in the raid. The same TV can be bought second-hand on eBay for £20.
Met Detective Inspector Paul Ridley said: ‘This was a callous and despicable attack and we are desperate to catch them.
‘We believe one or two people entered the house and attacked Mr Gouldstone – from his injuries we believe that he was dragged through the house.
‘They made off with a black 26 inch Panasonic TV – the level of violence was completely excessive.
‘It was only due to a member of the public that our alarm was raised – otherwise things could’ve been different.
‘We are doing everything in our power to further this investigation, no arrests have been made at this point.’
Residents in the street where the break-in happened say they do not feel safe due to the number of burglaries in recent years
Mr Gouldstone’s neighbours say the area is a ‘burglary blackspot’, with one resident having been burgled six times in the last 10 years.
Khalid Mahmood, 42, added: ‘I do feel unsafe – I’m here with three kids and my wife. My next door neighbour was 92-years-old. She was burgled twice leading up to her death four years ago.
‘The poor woman would not stop shaking, she lived on her own and she was in fear of another break-in. These things are something you’ve come to expect.’
A police officer was stationed outside Mr Gouldstone’s home in November
Another elderly neighbour, who asked not to be named, said she had called Mr Gouldstone’s son on Tuesday morning after noticing his garage door was open, which was ‘unusual’.
She said: ‘His son came and then police and an ambulance were here until it was dark. I’ve known him for many, many years and he has a charming family. It’s not nice, you just have to lock up and hope.’
Another neighbour said she saw the pensioner being taken away on a stretcher.
Neighbour Pio Gomes, 78, said Mr Gouldstone was rarely seen outside his home.
Mr Gomes said: ‘After that he wouldn’t come out much. I used to take his bins out for him because he wasn’t steady.’
The neighbour added: ‘His son Simon used to come round and take him out, take him shopping.
‘Of course it affects you because it’s worrying. It’s callous. Who could have done this to an old man like him?’
Several neighbours, many of them elderly, said there had been some burglaries on the road in recent years.
Police have appealed for anyone with any information to contact them about the raid