The family of a 98-year-old Second World War veteran have released a picture of him fighting for his life in his hospital bed after being violently attacked and robbed in his own home.
Former telephone engineer Peter Gouldstone suffered severe injuries including two bleeds on the brain, with his son saying he was “lost for words at man’s inhumanity to man”.
An image of the unconscious widower hooked up to tubes on a hospital bed with bruises on his arms and face was released on Wednesday.
Simon Gouldstone 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 then retiring around 1980.
The former civil servant said he found his father in a “semi-conscious state” in his bedroom on Evesham Road, Enfield, north London, on Tuesday morning after the back door was broken in.
The 67-year-old, who was alerted by a neighbour, told reporters: “I smelt a rat because 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.
“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.”
Mr Gouldstone had lived in the terrace house for more than 60 years, and neighbours said he was rarely seen outside following the death of his wife of 65 years Joan several years ago.
The couple also had a daughter.
Elderly neighbours said there had been several burglaries in the area in recent years and spoke of their shock and concern following the incident.
Pio Gomes, 78, said: “I used to take his bins out for him because he wasn’t steady.
“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?”
A black Panasonic 26ins TV was stolen from the house along “with a number of other items”, police said.
The violent raid took place in a 20-hour window between 2pm on November 5 and when he was discovered, but officers believe it was most likely under cover of darkness.
Officers are keeping an open mind as to whether there was more than one attacker.
Detective Inspector Paul Ridley said: “This was a brutal and senseless attack on a vulnerable pensioner in his own home.
“He was left helpless and seriously injured at the address all alone.
“It was only due to a member of the public noticing damage to the property that the alarm was raised.
“If this member of the public had not intervened then it’s almost certain Mr Gouldstone would have succumbed to his injuries.”
He urgently appealed for any witnesses to come forward.