Man held after D-Day veteran, 96, attacked with claw hammer at home

A man has been arrested following a suspected claw hammer attack on a D-Day veteran in his home, police said.

Jim Booth, 96, answered a call at the door of his home in Gipsy Lane in Taunton, Somerset, on Wednesday afternoon.

The cold caller asked Mr Booth whether he wanted any work done and attacked the veteran when he refused.

It is believed that a claw hammer was used to attack Mr Booth, who suffered serious injuries to his head and body.

Police arrested a 39-year-old man on suspicion of attempted murder and aggravated burglary on Friday morning.

A spokesman for Avon and Somerset Police said Mr Booth, who was taken to hospital after the attack, is in a "serious but stable" condition.

Mr Booth was attacked on Wednesday after opening the door to a cold caller between 4pm and 5pm.

He managed to raise the alarm with a neighbour before being taken to hospital, where his condition was described as "potentially life-threatening".

Jim Booth (holding wreath) standing with the Prince of Wales and veterans at a memorial to the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties Memorial Fund heroes (PA)
Jim Booth (holding wreath) standing with the Prince of Wales and veterans at a memorial to the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties Memorial Fund heroes (PA)

Police cordoned off the scene and carried out house-to-house inquiries, with a dog unit involved during initial searches.

Mr Booth joined the Royal Navy as a seaman at the age of 18, serving throughout the war.

He became part of the Combined Operations Pilotage and Reconnaissance Parties (COPP), which was set up in 1943.

Aged 23 he became a submarine pilot for the X-craft - tiny submarines that waited on the seabed for days at a time. His team sailed from Portsmouth to Normandy to scout out where the British could safely land.

On D-Day, Mr Booth climbed into a fold-up canoe and shone a beacon out to sea to guide Allied craft safely to shore.

He was later awarded the Croix de Guerre military medal by the French for his gallantry.

In August 2015, Mr Booth joined the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall for a reception in the grounds of Westminster Abbey. During the party, which was hosted by the Royal British Legion, Mr Booth took to the floor for a dance with Camilla.

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