FOR the heartbroken family of Anthony Power, yesterday’s guilty verdict for the thug who took his life marked the latest harrowing milestone in a five-month ‘waking nightmare’.
The pain of losing Mr Power in such horrific circumstances is a life sentence for wife Maureen, sons John and Danny, and daughters Siobhan and Louise - one that will outlast any handed down to his murderer by a judge.
Recalling the moment he first saw his beaten dad in hospital, eldest son John, 48, said: “His face was unrecognisable, black with blood and swelling. His features were distorted and his hair pink with blood.
“The image still haunts me. I can’t get it out of my head.”
The pain has not eased.
“My mum has said it’s like waking from a nightmare, then realising it’s true - that is a good description,” he said.
“We can’t bear to think of him in that park being kicked to death. The thought of how he sustained his injuries will torture us forever.”
One of 11 children, Mr Power came from humble beginnings in County Waterford, Ireland, and moved to Sheffield aged 21.
He excelled in sales, and worked for Playtex before founding his lingerie firm, Panache, in 1982. He twice won the Queen’s award for export, and had offices around the world.
To those who knew him he was not only a devoted family man and churchgoer but a kind boss, who always footed the bill for his workers’ Christmas party.
His funeral was attended by hundreds - and his staff refused a party last year, unable to bear celebrating without him.
The day he was attacked, he was recovering from flu, and went out searching for missing brother Noel despite the warnings of his worried wife that he wasn’t better. The next day they were due to travel to London to meet their new baby granddaughter.
John said: “Instead my mum had to spend their 53rd wedding anniversary in a bedside vigil watching her husband fade away.
“She is totally lost without her rock. She doesn’t eat, doesn’t sleep, doesn’t take enjoyment in anything any more. She has been cheated out of her final years with my dad.”
Success of ‘rags to riches’ businessman
ENTREPRENEUR Anthony Power may have made a fortune - but his multi-million-pound firm Panache started life in his Sheffield garage.
Mr Power’s brainwave was to realise a gap in the market for undies aimed at curvier women - and he set up using money from mortgaging his house before moving to premises in Attercliffe.
Son John said: “It was very much a family business, all of us having fond memories of helping to sort out underwear in the garage!
“The business was driven by my dad’s shrewdness. It really was a ‘rags to riches’ story.”
Today the international firm has annual sales of £23m, its knickers and bras are supplied to high street retailers across the globe, and stars including Scarlett Johannson, Holly Willoughby and Katie Price have all endorsed its ranges.
Killer was sitting in driving seat as victim lay beaten
ROBBERY was the motive for Anthony Power’s murder - and as he lay mortally beaten in High Hazels Park, his killer was sitting in the driving seat of his Bentley, revving its engine and telling lies.
Today that car has been sold - an intolerable reminder for Mr Power’s family of his violent death.
Son John said: “Around the time of his retirement, dad decided to buy himself a Bentley Continental.
“To him it was the pinnacle of all he had achieved.
“Despite his success he had never been frivolous or ostentatious with money.
“But had always wanted a prestige car and felt it was his reward for years of hard work.
“The car, with its private number plate, was my dad’s pride and joy, a physical representation of his success.
“He and mum would go for a drive in it most days, out to lunch or to the countryside, enjoying their retirement together.
“It was always kept immaculately clean and tidy, inside and out.
“After dad’s death we couldn’t bear the sight of it - to think someone who had done that to my dad had then sat in his car and smeared it with dad’s blood is unbearable.
“We sold the car immediately at a fraction of its value.”