D-Day veteran injured in claw hammer attack not easily defeated, family says

A D-Day veteran and "family hero" who was seriously injured in a suspected claw hammer attack is "not easily defeated and grows a little stronger each day", his family have said.

Jim Booth, 96, who has been described as an "exceptional person" and a "legend" by his family, was attacked after opening the door to a cold caller at his home in Gipsy Lane in Taunton, Somerset, on Wednesday afternoon.

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

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

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

In a statement released through Avon and Somerset Police on Saturday, Mr Booth's family thanked police and medical staff, who they said had been "deeply affected" by the incident.

"He is the head of the family, a dearly-loved father to his four children and adored by his grandchildren and great grandchildren, to whom he's simply known as The Legend, they said. He is, and always has been, our own family hero."

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

Mr Booth's family said: "Our father is not easily defeated and he grows a little stronger each day.

"We are all now focused on the long process of recovery, which will be helped by the love and support of all those around him."

Man arrested on suspicion of attempted murder & aggravated burglary following attack on 96-yr-old D-Day veteran Jim Booth in #Taunton.

Jim is now in a serious but stable condition in hospital.

More: https://t.co/o2dQsMunRxpic.twitter.com/9muE2NwszD

-- Avon&Somerset Police (@ASPolice) November 24, 2017

A 39-year-old man was arrested on Friday on suspicion of attempted murder and aggravated burglary.

The family said officers had worked "tirelessly to track down the suspect of this vicious and cowardly attack and we are grateful to them for their thorough investigation and also for their support to the family throughout our ordeal".

Mr Booth's family also thanked staff at Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton.

"We recognise that the police and medical staff who have been involved have been deeply affected and we want to thank them, on our father's behalf," they said.

"Countless friends, neighbours, members of the community and even strangers, have expressed their shock, incomprehension and outrage. We acknowledge and share those feelings."

Mr Booth, who was awarded a Croix de Guerre military medal by the French for his gallantry during the Second World War, joined the Royal Navy as a seaman at the age of 18, serving throughout the war.

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.

Mr Booth's family said they were "immensely proud" of their father who was an "exceptional person".

"We would appreciate as a family, to be left alone by the media and given time during this healing process, enabling us to come to terms with what has happened over the past few days," they added.

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