A ROYAL Navy veteran attacked by teenagers who stole his shopping says he has been left "gobsmacked" by the public's response. 

Patrick Murphy, 77, was left with severe bruising to his face and body after he was knocked to the ground by teenagers on bikes on Saturday.

The Basingstoke grandfather of four had been returning from Lidl in South Ham when he was hit around the head.

“I heard a cyclist coming so I went to move out of the way then suddenly it was ‘whack’ ‘whack’ ‘whack’ around the head. Next thing I was on the floor and my shopping had gone,” the retired pensioner told the Gazette.

He was left on the ground in pain while the thugs cycled off "laughing and shouting" with his shopping.

Basingstoke Gazette:

With no one else around, Patrick picked himself up and took himself home. He said he was initally in shock and didn't call the police because he "didn't want to cause any bother." 

On Sunday, he spent the day with a bag of frozen peas on his face. And because his groceries had been robbed, he had no fresh food in. 

Patrick only reported the sickening crime two days later after a friend urged him to. 

"I didn't want to cause a fuss," he said. 

The former serviceman, who fought in wars in Borneo and Northern Ireland, praised the police who arrived quickly on the Monday morning and took him straight to hospital. 

"I had a police officer either side of me, it was like having bodyguards," he joked. 

Basingstoke Gazette:

Recounting the appalling incident, Patrick said: "I knew what time roughly it had happened because I'd been at home watching the cricket before I went to Lidl.

"I thought I'd pop out to get my groceries to save me having to go out on Sunday." 

It was a journey Patrick had made many times before but one he said he won’t be repeating from now on after dark.

"I won't be doing that again. It has made me think twice. I don't go out in the dark normally but I definitely won't be now," he said. 

After the inital witness appeal was published by the Gazette on Tuesday, kind-hearted people from across the borough began fundraising money to pay for Patrick's stolen shopping.

Basingstoke Gazette:

But because the retired seaman isn't on any social media sites - he had no idea until a friend told him. 

"I wanted to check he was ok," the friend told the Gazette, "and I asked him if he had seen about the story on the Gazette and the Just Giving page. When I told him about it, he was really taken aback. He had no idea. He was really overwhelmed." 

Patrick said he was "gobsmacked". He said: "I wasn't expecting any of this at all. I just want to say thank you to everyone really. It has restored my faith in humanity."

When the Gazette met Patrick on Friday and told him the total amount raised was reaching £900, he said: "I don't know what to say. I am speechless. Gobsmacked. I am touched." 

And as well as the fundraising page, Patrick said Lidl had got in touch to offer him a free bag of groceries.

While Alpha Taxis has also offered him a free ride to and from the store. And the Gazette gave Patrick a bottle of champagne too – something to help him get over the week.

Basingstoke Gazette:

The retired branch standard bearer, who represented the Royal Navy in Remembrance Sunday parades in Basingstoke, said he was thinking about using some of the money to "hop a plane" to visit his eldest daughter in Ireland. 

The former oil rig diver said he was only prepared to speak out about what happened to thank the well-wishers - and to show the teenagers the consequences of what they had done. 

When asked what his message to those four teenage boys would be, he said: "Are you proud of yourselves, for attacking a pensioner?" 

Despite being nearly one week since the incident, Patrick's wounds are still clearly visible.

One side of his face is black and blue. Initially, the swelling was so bad he was temporarily visually impaired. 

Basingstoke Gazette:

While Patrick described the area he lives in as "nice and peaceful," he said the incident left him feeling shaken up for the first few days. On Sunday, he didn't leave his house all day. 

Patrick praised the police officers who dealt with the case. 

Basingstoke Gazette:

“They have been really good and have been in contact with me since to check I’m alright. I can't thank them enough. When all of this calms down, I am going to write to the chief constable to say thank you," he said. 

Patrick added that detectives had reviewed CCTV but so far had come back with no leads, though they did say there was a group of teenagers who had been targeting older people in the Winklebury area. 

Earlier this week, neighbourhood inspector Richard Lane described the attack as an "appalling assault."

He said: “Whilst this type of incident is extremely rare, this was an appalling assault on an elderly and vulnerable man.

“We would appeal to anyone who was in the vicinity between 8.15pm and 9pm on Saturday, September 14 and who may have seen a group of four males on bikes in the area.

"If anyone saw the incident or has any information they are asked to contact the police on 101 quoting 44190330676."