Police to check for link between death and attack

MATT STEWART
Last updated 05:00 19/11/2012
Home invasion victim Jack Morrissey, 82
KEVIN STENT/Fairfax NZ
ATTACKED: Jack Morrissey, 82, was afraid he would suffer a head injury during an assault in his Wainuiomata home.

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Former policeman Jack Morrissey, 82, has died less than a month after he was attacked in his Wainuiomata home.

Mr Morrissey's son, Paul, found his father dead on the kitchen floor of his home on Friday night after checking on him by phone half an hour earlier. His father had sounded breathless and stressed, he said.

An autopsy would be done to establish if the alleged attack by two teenage boys had contributed to his father's death, because it came so soon after the October 23 home invasion, Paul Morrissey said.

Police spokesman Nick Bohm confirmed an autopsy would be carried out today after the coroner decided to "double-check things".

Speculation over whether the violence contributed to Mr Morrissey's death or if the charges against the teenagers of aggravated robbery would be upgraded, was "premature", he said.

Mr Morrissey was partially blind and feared for his life when he was confronted on the doorstep of his home by the pair, aged 18 and 14.

It is alleged one of the youths beat Mr Morrissey on the back with the broom while the other ransacked his bedroom looking for his wallet.

Mr Morrissey said he had been desperate to avoid a head injury during the attack.

"Nobody wants to die or even be seriously injured. I said: please don't hit me in the head, please don't do it," he told The Dominion Post two days after the attack.

"I didn't want to end up on the floor with a fractured skull."

He tried to negotiate with the pair but they ended up taking about $400 in cash.

One of the pair asked him if he was blind, he said.

"I said: how do you know that?

"I think they already knew I could not see well and I was by myself. They thought I'd be easy meat."

Nearly a week later the youths were jointly charged with committing burglary with a weapon and were remanded in custody to appear in Lower Hutt District Court this month.

Mr Morrissey had recently undergone heart and stomach operations, and also suffered from a degenerative eye condition that affected his sight.

Paul Morrissey said although his father was in poor health, he had noticed a "marked decline" in his wellbeing after the "horrendous and gutless" attack.

However, he was not willing to speculate on whether the attack contributed to his father's death and would wait for the findings of the autopsy before commenting further.

Mr Morrissey said his father, who had five sons, was a "generous man who had great fun with his 11 grandkids".

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The attack was the second home invasion in Wainuiomata in recent months.

In August, Trevor Cotter, 74, and wife Marie, 64, were attacked in their house by three masked men armed with baseball bats.

- The Dominion Post

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