Man to stand trial accused of attempting to murder 96-year-old D-Day veteran


A 39-year-old man has pleaded not guilty to attempting to murder a D-Day veteran in his home.

Joseph Isaacs appeared at Taunton Crown Court by video link to deny the charge, relating to an attack on Jim Booth, 96, in Gipsy Lane, Taunton, on November 22.

Royal Navy veteran Mr Booth was taken to Musgrove Park Hospital in a potentially life-threatening condition following the incident, which is alleged to have involved a hammer.

Isaacs, of no fixed address, will stand trial accused of attempted murder at Taunton Crown Court on May 21. The trial is expected to last three days.

Gipsy Lane in Taunton where Jim Booth was attacked (Johanna Carr/PA)
Gipsy Lane in Taunton where Jim Booth was attacked (Johanna Carr/PA)

He admitted causing Mr Booth grievous bodily harm with intent, and a charge of aggravated burglary. This said he went to Mr Booth's home with a hammer to steal a bank card and cheque book.

The defendant also pleaded guilty to seven counts of fraud relating to him using Mr Booth's bank card on November 22 and 23.

Charges say Isaacs used the card at Burger King, McDonald's and Asda, in Bridgwater, and at B&M, the Railway pub, Proper Job and the Bay View Cafe, in Burnham-on-Sea.

Judge David Ticehurst told him: "Joseph Isaacs, the trial is going to take place on May 21.

"It has a likely time estimate of three days. You will remain in custody until then."

A general view of Musgrove Park Hospital, where Jim Booth was treated (Emma Hallett/PA)
Musgrove Park Hospital, where Mr Booth was treated (Emma Hallett/PA)

Mr Booth returned home 10 days after the attack and his family said he had been "enormously uplifted" by cards and good wishes from people "of all ages and nationalities".

"These include a little boy who anonymously sent his £5 Christmas money and the school children from Normandy who drew pictures of his submarine on D-Day," they said.

"He is very touched by the kindness of friends, neighbours and strangers who have offered help and wished him a speedy recovery."

Mr Booth joined the Royal Navy as a seaman at the age of 18, serving throughout the war, and becoming part of the Combined Operations Pilotage Parties (COPP), based at a wartime military base on Hayling Island.

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

In July 2015, Mr Booth laid a wreath beside one placed by the Prince of Wales at a service on Hayling Island to pay tribute to those who served in the COPP.

The following month, he joined Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at a reception in the grounds of Westminster Abbey.

During the party, hosted by the Royal British Legion, Mr Booth took to the floor for a dance with Camilla.