Detectives investigating the death of a Rotherham pensioner attacked in his own home are now treating the death as murder.
Tommy Ward, aged 80, who died five-weeks ago, was attacked in his home in Salisbury Road, Maltby, six months ago.
His £30,000 life savings were stolen during the violent raid in which the former soldier suffered a fractured skull, broken ribs and shattered jaw.
Today, to mark the anniversary of the attack, detectives have confirmed that the death is now being treated as murder.
Detective Inspector Richard Partridge, of South Yorkshire Police, said: “Exactly six months ago, 80-year-old Tommy Ward was attacked in his own home on Salisbury Road, robbed and left seriously injured by his cowardly attackers.
“Tommy sadly passed away last month and his family have been left heartbroken and devastated, with the untold feeling of grief and sadness knowing Tommy will never be able to see his attackers brought to justice and behind bars.
“The post-mortem examination proved to be inconclusive and we are awaiting the results of additional tests to establish the exact cause of his death, to further piece together and uncover exactly what happened that night, however we are now investigating the incident as murder.
“The assault shocked what is tight-knit local community and the support we have received from residents in Maltby, as well as the wider public in Rotherham since the attack has been very encouraging and I am extremely grateful.
“We do still need your help to understand what happened that night Tommy was attacked and I would ask anyone with information to get in touch with us.
“Tommy did not deserve this and his family have the right to know why their much loved father, grandfather, uncle, brother, was brutally attacked in his own home.
“Someone knows what happened that night in October. I would ask that person to consider how they would feel if this had happened to a member of their family.
“How would you feel knowing your elderly relative had been robbed and beaten in his own home?
“Whoever is responsible for such a vicious attack on a vulnerable man does not deserve to be shielded by anyone, and I would again ask, even if you feel your information is not that significant, please, make contact with us as the smallest detail could be vital to our investigation.”
Tommy was found seriously injured on Thursday, October 1 and was rushed to hospital where he remained in a critical condition for a number of months.
He was released from hospital and was receiving ongoing care at home, but was re-admitted and died on Tuesday, February 23.
Five arrests have been made over the incident but no charges have been brought.
DI Partridge added: “I want to appeal again to the local community. Can you remember a family member or friend behaving strangely in the days following the attack? Did you see anyone with blood stained clothes, or anyone suddenly in possession of large amounts of cash?
“While we may have made arrests, the investigation is still incredibly active and very much on-going as we continue to follow up leads and conduct extensive enquiries, and I would encourage anyone, even with the slightest piece of information, to please get in touch with us.”
Anyone with information should call South Yorkshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.