A great grandfather from Sheffield said today he feels ‘lucky to be alive’ - after being mugged for his shopping bag containing just a bottle of milk, a newspaper and a handful of change.
Retired steelworker John Hardcastle, who turns 80 in November, was attacked from behind as he walked along Greengate Lane, High Green - only yards from where church organist Alan Greaves was murdered last Christmas Eve.
Five-foot six-inch Mr Hardcastle was grabbed by a thug who had followed him after he left the Co-op store on the same street.
The pensioner, who used to work at Newton Chambers steelworks in Chapeltown, refused to let go of his shopping bag and was dragged to the ground, suffering severe bruising to his side.
Mr Hardcastle let go of the bag - which contained a four-pint bottle of milk, his daily paper, and some coins in change - only when the strap broke.
After dusting himself down, he returned to the Co-op to buy his shopping again.
A shaken Mr Hardcastle told The Star today: “I was very lucky to survive - I could have knocked my head on the causeway and could have gone.
“I was bruised all down my right side.”
Mr Hardcastle has since spent five days recuperating from his ordeal on a seaside break in Lytham St Annes near Blackpool with his wife of 57 years Maureen, 75.
But he said: “I am still suffering the effects.
“Although I have high blood pressure and diabetes, I am quite fit for my age and keep going - but my wife won’t let me go out to the shops on my own now. Relatives are going to the shops for us.
“If I’m out and about now, I keep looking around to see if anyone is following me. I don’t trust anyone.”
The robbery has shocked Alan Greaves’ widow, Maureen, who was herself mugged in High Green in June.
Mrs Greaves revealed she has now decided to press charges against her attacker - after initially agonising over whether the female mugger would be better served receiving help.
Mrs Greaves said: “It’s shocking that people are doing this - that’s why I have decided to report the lady who attacked me.
“You do realise that, when someone does this kind of thing, they only have to pick on someone who is old and frail and that person could be in difficulty.
“After a robbery the fear also stays with people for a long time - people can be frightened for many weeks.
“After Alan was attacked, many elderly people were saying they didn’t go out like they used to.”
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “Police are investigating the incident involving Mr Hardcastle and have arrested a man on suspicion of robbery.
“We are appealing for witnesses, and anyone with information should get in touch on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
The robbery happened at about 8.20am on Sunday, August 11.