POLICE in South Yorkshire have made an appeal for information on the one year anniversary of the the brutal murder of Irish pensioner Tommy Ward.
Mr Ward was attacked at his home of over 30 years in Maltby, South Rotherham in Yorkshire on September 30.
He never recovered and died in hospital almost five months later on February 23 as a result of his injuries sustained during the attack.
Detective Chief Inspector Vicky Short from South Yorkshire Police said Mr Ward had been subjected to a "nasty and vicious assault".
"We know that at some point between the evening [of September 30 2015] into the early hours of 1 October one year ago, Tommy was subjected to a nasty and vicious assault," she said.
"Throughout this week we’ve had officers in the Maltby area speaking to residents and offering reassurance," she added.
"Please, if you do know anything about this incident, give us a call or pass the information to Crimestoppers in confidence.”
Mr Ward was left with a broken jaw and a fractured skull, as well as broken ribs and a finger hanging just by its tendons.
A six-hour operation was required to treat his head injury and he had to have his finger amputated.
As well as his injuries, £30,000 of Mr Ward's life savings were also stolen in a safe, which was later discovered empty eight miles from Mr Ward's home on a canal bank in Rotherham.
At the time of the attack, Mr Ward's daughter Jackie Perry said: "It's heartbreaking."
“He opens his eyes and sees us but he hasn’t spoken at all since it happened.”
A proud Irishman, Mr Ward was regularly seen in his local pub, The Manor, wearing Irish T-shirts and hats.
He was a reader of The Irish Post, which his family read to him in hospital, and a fan of Irish music.
Having spent his life working firstly in the British Army and later in the nearby Maltby mines, Mr Ward was enjoying his retirement by making regular trips to Ireland.
His roots in Ireland went back to his grandmother, who came from Co. Galway.
Mr Ward’s ashes were taken back to the South Yorkshire town of Maltby afterwards where he was buried with his wife.
“The last year has seen extensive investigative work by officers across the force, as well as a Crimewatch reconstruction in June this year," DCI Short said.
“We still believe there are people out there who are yet to come forward and tell us what they know about the events of one year ago.
"I urge those people to get in touch and allow us to offer Tommy’s family some closure after a very painful and upsetting year.”
Three men, aged 23, 30 and 35, were arrested in August in connection with the on-going murder investigation.
They remain on police bail pending further enquiries.
Five additional people were arrested in connection with the incident but have since been released.
DCI Short added: “The charity Crimestoppers continue to offer a £10,000 reward in connection to our investigation, and I have a team of dedicated detectives who are solely committed to working on this case, to uncover who is responsible for such a cruel and heartless assault on a vulnerable man."