Leeds veteran, 82, battered in flat “disgusted” as fireman who carried out attack avoids court

Bill Ramsay.
Bill Ramsay.
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An elderly ex-serviceman says he is “disgusted” an off-duty firefighter who attacked him in his flat will not face court action.

Bill Ramsay, 82, was left bloodied and bruised after being battered by Adam Talbot in his eighth floor flat in Farsley, Leeds, on Friday night.

Bill Ramsay

Bill Ramsay

Talbot was arrested and later admitted assault.

Under new rules, he agreed to pay £150 in compensation and write Mr Ramsay a letter of apology and was banned from going near his flat again. If he fails to comply, he will be taken to court.

He is also facing an internal investigation by West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

But Mr Ramsay, a retired foundry manager who served with 1st Battalion West Riding Regiment in the 1950s, said he was angry Talbot had escaped immediate court action.

Bill Ramsay

Bill Ramsay

“I’m absolutely disgusted,” he said.

“I would sooner have seen this guy go to court and be given 150 hours of community service than get £150 myself.

“It’s fine to keep a case out of magistrates’ court if it’s some trivial matter – someone going into a shop and pinching an apple. But this? This was assault on an elderly man.”

Talbot confronted Mr Ramsay at his flat, at Marsden Court on Water Lane, at about 9.30pm, allegedly in a row over a relative’s will.

Bill Ramsay. PIC: James Hardisty

Bill Ramsay. PIC: James Hardisty

Mr Ramsay said he hurled abuse at him, before forcing his way inside and attacking him, causing a cut to his eye and bruising to his face. He then left, but was arrested outside.

Talbot was given a ‘suspended prosecution’ under a new system introduced by the government last month to replace the old regime of police cautions.

Justice Secretary Chris Grayling said the reforms would “empower” victims by giving them more of a say.

West Yorkshire Police said the action taken was appropriate because Talbot had no previous convictions, admitted his guilt and had expressed remorse.

Det Chief Insp Lisa Atkinson, of Leeds CID, said: “Had the matter been progressed to court it is unlikely the offender would have received any greater penalty and possibly he could have received a lesser sanction.”

She said Mr Ramsay had initially agreed to the course of action, adding: “The victim was spoken to again and raised concerns about the amount of time the offender had been given to write the letter of apology. The letter has since been submitted to the investigating officer and forwarded to the victim.

“The victim’s son contacted officers to raise concerns and the reasoning has been explained to him. The victim was spoken to again by the investigating officer and had changed his mind and was no longer satisfied with the use of a suspended prosecution.

“While the process does take account of the views of victims, police officers will use their professional judgement to assess the circumstances and decide on the most appropriate outcome.”

Mr Ramsay denied he had agreed to the decision, saying: “My views have been totally ignored.”

A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman said: “We are investigating an incident that occurred on Friday evening involving an off-duty firefighter.

“We are not able to comment on on-going investigations.”