An elderly man from Bath has publicly thanked a young woman who stepped in to help him when he was assaulted in the city.
Raymond Pepper, who is 89, was on his way to the post office from his home when the incident occurred at around 3.30pm on Wednesday 11th September.
Gillian Ussher, 29, was out shopping with her family when she saw Mr Pepper being assaulted. She rushed across and intervened to try to prevent further harm coming to him.
Mr Pepper said: “In 2007 I was knocked down by a car and the nerves in my left leg were damaged. As a result I ‘wall walk’ when I am out and about as otherwise I can be unsteady on my feet.
“On that particular day I was walking to the post office alongside the wall and came across a man who had his bag on the pavement beside the wall.
“I said ‘excuse me please’ three times but he didn’t respond so I said I would have to step over his bag in order to remain alongside the wall. He then became very angry. He called me all sorts of names and grabbed me and started shaking me.
“At that point, I saw a lady coming over and she tried to pull him off me and then he grabbed her and I was told afterwards that he threw her on top of me.”
The man then left the scene. A post office staff member heard the disturbance and contacted local PCSOs, Brian Harris and Julie Durbin, who were on patrol nearby and they arrived on the scene in minutes.
PCSO Harris toured the surrounding area with a motorist who had seen the suspect leaving the scene but there was no trace of him.
Mr Pepper was treated at the scene for minor injuries but was not seriously hurt.
This incident is currently being investigated and police are appealing for anyone with information as to the identity of the suspect to contact Bath Police Station.
PC Tracey Russell, who is investigating the case, said: “Incidents of this nature are rare but it was nonetheless very upsetting for those involved. A man is currently helping us with our enquiries in relation to the incident and this case is ongoing. We would encourage any witnesses to the incident to come forward.”
As a result of her brave actions, Mr Pepper met with Ms Ussher on 3rd October and presented her with a bunch of flowers and a box of chocolates to say thank you.
The reunion was arranged by PCSOs Harris and Durbin who attended the original incident.
Mr Pepper said: “Gillian was so brave for stepping in, especially because she isn’t very large. I shook hands with her afterwards and thanked her but it was too casual and I wanted to say thank you properly with a little token of some sort to show my appreciation.
“So many people are so helpful in Bath but Gillian was not only helpful, she really put her own safety on the line.”
Ms Ussher said she and her family were going for lunch when she saw the incident and almost instinctively rushed across to help Mr Pepper.
She said: “My immediate reaction was one of disgust at what was happening. I lost my grandfather a few weeks before the incident and we were really close and I think it just struck a chord with me and I just had to do something.”
Anyone with information in relation to this incident is asked to contact Bath Police Station on 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, they never ask your name or trace your call.