Ward Street
Ward Street, St Helens. Google

A pensioner has died after been punched by a thug for not having a cigarette, police have confirmed. On 21 July, Len Saunders was walking with a friend down Ward Street in St Helens, Merseyside, when the pair were approached by two younger men.

Ward and his friend were asked for a cigarette and when the pair replied saying they did not smoke, one of the two younger men punched Ward in the face, causing him to fall down and hit his head on the ground.

The impact left the victim unconscious and he was transported to Walton Neurological Centre in Liverpool, were he was confirmed dead on Sunday (30 July).

The police confirmed two teenagers, aged between 15 and 17, had been arrested on suspicion of assault and subsequently released, adding a Home Office post mortem will take place to establish the cause of death.

The first offender, aged in his late teens or early twenties, is described as white, slim, and around 5ft 8in tall. He was wearing a dark-coloured baseball cap and an all grey tracksuit.

The second man was also aged in his late teens or early twenties and around 5ft 8in tall, but of medium build. He was wearing a blue coat with a hood, dark-coloured jogging bottoms and had long dark hair.

"This was a completely unprovoked assault by two youths on a much older man who was simply out and about with his friend," said detective Inspector Cath Haggerty of Merseyside Police.

"I'm sure people living in the area will be disgusted by this incident so I would appeal for them to help us bring the offender or offenders to justice. It was a wet evening but plenty of people will still have been out walking or driving past at the time."