Granddaughter sleuth's DNA find helps trap mugger who beat her ex-soldier grandfather so badly he almost died

  • Bill Hopkins, 79, suffered broken jaw during attack in Digbeth, Birmingham
  • Richard Christie, 48, punched and kicked him in the head before fleeing
  • Police traced him after Mr Hopkins managed to tear away his glove
  • Jailed for nine years at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday

By Steve Robson

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A granddaughter helped catch a mugger who beat a former soldier so viciously he almost died by finding the attacker's glove which was torn off in the attack.

Bill Hopkins, 79, suffered a broken jaw and was treated in hospital for two days following the unprovoked attack outside his home in Digbeth, Birmingham, last November.

His granddaughter Alana Kurila, 24, found the mugger's glove in his front garden and police were able to extract the attacker's DNA from it. Bill joked: 'She likes to be called Miss Marple now.'

Mugger Richard Christie, 48, was today jailed for nine years following the horrific attack.

Mugger Richard Christie
Bill Hopkins

Justice: Mugger Richard Christie, left, was jailed for nine years after attacking Bill Hopkins, right, outside his home in Digbeth, Birmingham

Glove find: Alana Kurila, 24, found the glove that Bill Hopkins tore off his attacker in his front garden. Police were able to extract the DNA from it and catch the attacker

Glove find: Alana Kurila, 24, found the glove that Bill Hopkins tore off his attacker in his front garden. Police were able to extract the DNA from it and catch the attacker

He pounced on the pensioner from behind, repeatedly punching and kicking him in the head before fleeing with his wallet containing just £40 and a memorial card from Mr Hopkins' late wife's funeral.

Christie, from Sugden Grove, Highgate, admitted robbery at Birmingham Crown Court yesterday.

Ex-serviceman Mr Hopkins, who served in Borneo in the 1950s, woke up bleeding on the pavement following the attack just yards from his home on Gooch Street.

 

The great-grandfather was left particularly distraught because his injuries forced him to miss a Remembrance Day parade for the first time since serving overseas.

Detective Constable Lee Dawson, from West Midlands Police, described the mugging as a 'vicious, unprovoked attack.'

He added: 'The whole community were understandably outraged at the severity of the attack.

'We hope the sentence offers reassurance that we will do everything within our power to bring criminals to justice.'

Attack: Pensioner Bill Hopkins woke up bleeding on the pavement near his home on Gooch Street following the mugging

Attack: Pensioner Bill Hopkins woke up bleeding on the pavement near his home on Gooch Street following the mugging

William Hopkins (centre) during active service in Carlisle
Bill Hopkins

Proud: Ex-soldier Bill Hopkins, pictured centre and right during his active service, was left distraught after missing the Remembrance Day parade for the first time because he was recovering in hospital

Service: Former soldier Bill Hopkins (left) during his National Service in Malaysia with the 11th Hussars

Service: Former soldier Bill Hopkins (left) during his National Service in Malaysia with the 11th Hussars

Anger: Bill Hopkins' daughter Pat Kurila, left, tearfully told a press conference she thought her father might day following the attack

Anger: Bill Hopkins' daughter Pat Kurila, left, tearfully told a press conference she thought her father might day following the attack

Speaking after the court hearing, Bill said: 'I’m glad justice has been served and Christie is behind bars.

'Thankfully I’ve recovered from what he did to me. It hasn’t put me off going outside or anything.

'I’m just glad he is in prison and cannot hurt anybody else. Both my family and I are pleased with the sentence.

'We also can’t thank the police enough. They did a fantastic job catching Christie.'

Speaking shortly after the attack, Mr Hopkins' daughter Pat Kurila had broken down during a police press conference saying she feared her father might die such was the severity of his beating.

The 52-year-old teaching assistant, from Highgate, Birmingham, said: 'We could have been burying him. Whoever did this is the lowest of the low.'

Initially police believed the mugger had followed Mr Hopkins' home from a Ladbrokes in the Arcadian Centre, where he had won the £40.

He was pinned down and attacked outside his house at around 8pm and later spent two days in hospital.

Mr Hopkins, who did his National Service in Germany and Malaya with the 11th Hussars, had said after the attack: 'The thing that most annoyed me was that I couldn’t go to the remembrance parade on the Sunday as I do every year.'

Heartbreak: The attacker stole Mr Hopkins' wallet which contained a memorial card from the funeral of his late wife Peggy, pictured together on their wedding day

Heartbreak: The attacker stole Mr Hopkins' wallet which contained a memorial card from the funeral of his late wife Peggy, pictured together on their wedding day

Jailed: Christie was sentenced to nine years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court for the attack which police described as 'vicious'

Jailed: Christie was sentenced to nine years in prison at Birmingham Crown Court for the attack which police described as 'vicious'

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

This country is so soft on punishment its no wonder crime is always being committed.

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My hatred of these scum runs so deep, muggers and burglars alike. And to do this to an elderly person as well, they really are cowardly, nasty scum, not worth living. If only we had ultimate justice in this country - wipe out scum like this, and surely this would make the world a better place? What purpose on this earth do these people serve? They only ever inflict suffering and misery.

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Well done 'Miss Marple"! Hope granddad has fully recovered <3

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Daily Mail daily gallery of really ugly thugs.

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A thing such as Christie is of no use to Society and should be eliminated.

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I hope to God UKIP win the election. Everyone who sees this comment (if it shows up) Vote UKIP, tell your friends and family to do the same.

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Anybody else expecting him to get 18 months and £100 fine? - ritch , Cambridge, United Kingdom, 21/5/2013 12:14 You really should try to read the article. I know it's a bit difficult, but you can find precious facts like this: Mugger Richard Christie, 48, was today jailed for nine years following the horrific attack.

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Vile. Poor guy.

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Well done to the police for their tenacity in bringing this thug to justice. It's just a pity that justice no longer exists in the UK anymore.

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That high wall next to the blue railing in the photo of Gooch Street looks like a muggers' paradise - hide behind it and then pounce.

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