Two robbers tried to tip a frail grandad out of his mobility scooter before stabbing him in a terrifying knifepoint mugging in one of Stoke-on-Trent’s biggest parks.
Former PMT bus driver Chris Vaughan was today undergoing surgery on his hands after he desperately tried to defend himself during the daytime attack in Hanley’s Central Forest Park yesterday (June 22).
The 63-year-old, who is partially paralysed after suffering a stroke, was riding along the path when two knife-wielding men pounced shortly after 4pm.
They then fled the scene with money, leaving a blood-covered Chris slumped on his buggie.
The dad-of-two’s family are now anxiously waiting for news on his condition after he was rushed to the Royal Stoke University Hospital.
A police cordon remains in place this afternoon as an investigation continues.
Chris’s sister Kerry Vaughan, from Meir Hay, said: “They stole his money and tried to take his scooter as well. One of them was on the back and another on the front trying to tip him out.
“He was seriously hurt trying to defend himself as they stabbed at his hands.
“There was a young lad who saw Chris in distress. He went to get help and then stayed with him until the emergency services arrived. He didn’t think twice about stopping to help even with everything that’s going on. He’s a real local hero and is a real credit to his generation.
“There was also a teacher who came to Chris’s aid. We can’t thank them enough.
“Chris has been in surgery. It was supposed to take four or five hours. We don’t really know the extent of his injuries at this stage but it sounds bad.
“With everything that’s going on in the world we can’t believe there are people out there who would stab a 63-year-old man and then just leave him with horrific injuries. It’s despicable.”
Married Chris, from Bucknall, who is a dad to Gareth and David, regularly goes on outings in his mobility scooter after suffering a series of health issues.
Kerry, aged 52, added: “Chris has been through so much.
“He can’t walk as a stroke has left him paralysed down his leg. It affected his whole left-hand side.
“He’s also had cancer. He’s always in and out of hospital. His health has suffered but he’s always happy.
“He’s only had the scooter for around five months, it’s his lifeline. He gets himself out as much as possible.
“He goes for ride outs every day when it’s not raining. It runs for 20 miles. He even drives to my house.
“Growing up we used to fight like cat and dog but as a family we’re very close now. There were six siblings and there’s only three of us left now.
“To think his freedom could be taken away is dreadful. It’s the first time anything like this has happened.
“The police have been fantastic, I can’t praise them enough. They managed to arrest two people in the space of a few hours. I just hope justice is done.
“His son Gareth has been up to the hospital and we’re just hoping he will make a good recovery.”
Police confirmed a man arrested in connection with the robbery remains in custody at this time. A second man – who was also arrested last night – has been released with no further action.
Detective Inspector Lucy Maskew, of Staffordshire Police, said: “Our inquiries are continuing this afternoon and I’d like to hear from anyone who was in the park between 3.45pm and 4.15pm yesterday and may be able to assist with our investigation.
“Please get in touch if you witnessed any suspicious behaviour in the area beforehand or saw the attack take place.”
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A West Midlands Ambulance Service spokesman said: “We were called at 4.04pm to reports of a man who had been assaulted.
“We sent one ambulance to the scene. He was treated for serious injuries, not believed to be life-threatening, and was taken to hospital.”
Anyone with information is urged to contact Staffordshire Police on 101 or via Facebook or Twitter referring to incident number 413 of June 22.