War veteran vicar attacked at home

A RETIRED vicar who fought on D-Day says nothing he experienced in wartime compared to the horror of being beaten and strangled in his own home.

The Rev Kenneth Ward, 87, who was the vicar at the Holy Cross Church in Daventry for 25 years, suffered extensive injuries and a fractured jaw after Marc Knight, 25, attacked him with his own walking stick in February.

Mr Ward served in the Royal Navy during World War Two and saw action on D-Day. He is also national chaplain of the Normandy D-Day Veterans' Association and holds France's highest honour, the Legion D'Honneur.

But he said: "After five years as a number one on a minesweeper in the Royal Navy I have never had anything like the horror and afflictions that were inflicted on me in that attack.

"It's been a slow recovery, I've only just been able to start eating solid food. It's been a miserable time as I'm still getting over the death of my wife Peggy who died last year.

"I didn't understand why it happened and I still don't now."

Knight was jailed for nine years after pleading guilty to robbery this week. He had previously denied the offence, claiming he was acting in self defence.

In the past Mr Ward had helped Knight, of Anson Close, Daventry, by lending him money and putting him up on the sofa when he had nowhere else to go.

He added: "He would drop in for a coffee and food. I was following the lines of my profession and probably did not know that much about him.

"I knew he had been in choky (jail) once before for fighting but from what I hear he'd been in quite a lot of trouble.

"I always give people the benefit of the doubt. He let me down and let me down badly, we'd been nothing but kind to him.

"It just seems to me that he was thoroughly bad, an inveterate liar. The whole thing is very sad. I never want to see him again and I probably won't."

Mr Ward said he kept his promise to Knight that he wouldn't contact the police after the attack, and revealed he still would not have done so had the paramedics not done it for him.

"I was not the person to bring the prosecution. I didn't want retribution," he said.