A PENSIONER who was punched in the back of the head by a cowardly mugger has told how the terrifying incident left him coughing up blood.
But defiant Peter Battersby, 74, who suffers from chronic heart disease and lung disease, has vowed not to let “one bad apple” affect him.
A vile thug wearing a black tracksuit punched the grandfather-of-four and great grandfather-of-one to the ground at the junction of Morley Street and Rutland Street - near Victoria Park - at about 4pm on May 4.
The mindless mugger then tried to steal the victim’s wallet from his pocket, but fled when Mr Battersby fought back and shouted that the police were on their way.
Mr Battersby said: “I often go for a walk up North Road and around Victoria Park and, on this particular day, I got a nudge in the back when three lads ran past me near the YMCA.
“I thought nothing of it at the time but then saw the same three lads in the park. As I got to the top of Morley Street a lad ran up behind me and hit me as hard as he could on the back of my head, knocking me to the ground. I think it was one of the three lads I had seen.
“He then got on top of me and tried to steal my wallet. But I managed to get my arm around his neck, shouted that the police were on their way and he ran off.
“My heart was banging. That’s what I was most worried about. I’ve already suffered three heart attacks and undergone major surgery and this left me with terrible chest pains. I was spitting up blood.
“Thankfully, a lady helped me call 999 and a man came out of one of the houses, made me a cup of tea and waited with me until the police arrived. The police and paramedics were really nice too and I soon settled down.”
Mr Battersby, who suffered a grazed arm from the fall and was left with blurred vision, estimates the mugger was about 6ft 1ins tall and was in his early 20s.
His assailant was wearing a black tracksuit with a hood wrapped around his face. The hood had three red stripes on it.
Mr Battersby, of Parr, who has since written “thank you” cards to the police and the man who came to his aid, added: “I think I was targeted because of my age. My son is 6ft 4ins tall and 18 stone - they wouldn’t have tried this with him. The guy that did this is a coward - he’s sick.
“I definitely feel like I’m looking over my shoulder a bit more now. But I try to live life thinking there are more nice people out there than bad people and I’m not going to change my view because of one bad apple.
“The police told me a man matching the same description did something similar on Liverpool Road the following night so it’s important this is highlighted.”
DC Kirsty Miller, of St Helens CID, said: “This was a cowardly act by someone who hoped that by targeting an older person they wouldn’t fight back. Fortunately, the victim was both brave and quick-thinking and scared him off. But this could have been much more serious.”
Anyone with information can call police on 0151 777 6807 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.