IT BREAKS my heart – I can’t understand how he can do this to me. It will be with me until the day I die.
Those are the words of a city pensioner who had to spend four weeks in hospital with injuries including broken ribs and a collapsed lung after being subjected to a brutal attack in his Coventry home.
And what made the attack on the 76-year-old even more agonising for him was the fact that his injuries were inflicted by one of his own sons.
After first blaming the family dog for pulling his father over, Dominic Croke finally pleaded guilty on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court to inflicting grievous bodily harm.
Croke (41) of Charter Avenue, Canley, Coventry, was jailed for two years and three months and handed a restraining order banning him from having any contact with his father for ten years.
Prosecutor Richard Davenport said that that in February Croke, whose previous convictions included assault and affray, went to visit his 76-year-old father William Croke at around 5pm.
The pensioner recalled asking Croke to leave at some point because he was drunk – and the next thing he could remember was waking up in hospital the next day.
Croke had made a 999 call at 8.20 that morning, sounding agitated and asking for an ambulance, claiming the family dog had pulled his father over and ‘split his face all to pieces.’
But when paramedics arrived and asked him to put the dog away, he responded aggressively: “There’s nothing wrong with the dog.”
The paramedics found that William Croke had severe bruising to his face and arms, and when they asked him whether the dog had pulled him over, he said it had not.
Croke continued to be abusive, and when the police arrived they saw he had bruising to his knuckles, although he continued to maintain that his father had been injured while walking the dog.
He resisted and struggled when he was arrested, and had to be taken to the floor before being restrained.
Mr Davenport said that as a result of the attack by his son, Mr Croke senior had bruising to his face, ear and arms, a cut below his eye, multiple rib fractures and a collapsed lung.
Mr Croke, who suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, was rushed into intensive care, and was kept in hospital for four weeks.
But when he was interviewed, the pensioner said he believed his son was responsible for the attack, but did not want to get him into trouble, although he added that Croke was ‘evil when in drink.’
And although he has physically recovered from his ordeal, he continues to suffer from stress and anxiety and says he is considering selling his home and moving in case Croke comes to the house when he is released.
“It breaks my heart, but I can no longer have any relationship with Dominic. I can’t understand how he can do this to me. It will be with me until the day I die,” he added.
David Jackson, defending, said: “He has expressed genuine remorse, having been presented with the results of what he did that day. He is horrified to see the photographs and the extent of the injuries in inflicted.”