Joseph Issacs

D-Day Veteran Attack: Man Found Guilty Of Attempted Murder

Jim Booth, 96, was repeatedly hit over the head with a claw hammer at his Somerset home.

Joseph Issacs

Joseph Issacs denied trying to kill the Navy veteran. (Picture: Avon and Somerset Police).

A man has been given a 20-year extended sentence after being found guilty of the attempted murder of a D-Day veteran.

Joseph Isaacs, 40 repeatedly hit 96-year-old Jim Booth over the head with a claw hammer in an "utterly senseless" attack.

The 20-year extended sentence is made up of a 16-year custodial term of which he will have to serve two thirds, plus a four-year extension.

Sentencing, Judge David Ticehurst said Mr Booth was an "extraordinarily remarkable gentleman" whom Isaacs "savagely attacked with a claw hammer which you took with you for that purpose".

He said: "It was a brutal and utterly senseless attack on him."

Mr Isaacs launched the assault on Jim Booth at the elderly man's home in Taunton, Somerset, when he became enraged after having his offer of cheap building work turned down.

Royal Navy veteran Mr Booth, who was part of the D-Day landings and went on to clear mines in the Mediterranean after the war, tried to escape by going into his house.

'The attacker shouted "money, money. money" and advanced on me with claw hammer' - victim, Jim Booth.

However, he was pursued by Mr Isaacs, who hit him again and again with the claw hammer.

Great-grandfather Mr Booth was left with multiple skull fractures and lacerations to his head, hands and arms.

Isaacs denied intending to kill Mr Booth, claiming instead that he had gone to the house to get money for food, but was found guilty of attempted murder.

The jury heard that Isaacs had been sleeping in his car in the days and weeks leading up to his attack on Mr Booth.

Mr Issacs claimed he was in the middle of a "nervous breakdown" having broken up with his girlfriend and had not eaten for four days when he decided to approach Mr Booth's home.

Rachel Drake, for the prosecution, labelled his defence "a desperate attempt to minimise what he had done".

Issacs had already admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, aggravated burglary and six allegations of fraud in relation to the attack at an earlier hearing.

D-Day veteran Jim Booth
Mr Booth was left with multiple skull fractures and lacerations to his head, hands and arms after answering the door to Isaacs at his Taunton home on November 22 last year. (Picture: PA).

During the war, Mr Booth joined the Combined Operations Pilotage and Reconnaissance Parties (COPP) and trained for covert beach explorations at a wartime military base set up on Hayling Island in Hampshire in 1943 under the instruction of Lord Mountbatten.

At the age of 23, Mr Booth became a pilot for the X-craft, tiny submarines that waited on the seabed for days at a time, and sailed from Portsmouth to Normandy to scout out safe places for British forces to land.

On D-Day, Mr Booth climbed into a fold-up canoe and shone a beacon out to sea to guide Allied craft safely to shore.

He was later awarded the Croix de Guerre military medal by France for his gallantry.

Recalling the attack in his home, Mr Booth said:

"He hit me six times on the head, as well as more on the arms with the claw hammer.

"Each time between it, shouting 'money, money, money'.

"He then knocked me out completely."

Mr Booth says he tried to put up some resistance during the incident and is expected to be present in court when Isaacs is sentenced this afternoon.

"I blame myself because I was Special Service and I think I really should have known how to deal with this," he said.

Speaking after the verdict, DCI James Riccio, who led the investigation, described Isaacs' attack on Mr Booth as a "prolonged and barbaric ordeal".

"He used a claw hammer to strike Mr Booth repeatedly to the head and body - even hitting him multiple times while he lay on the floor," he said.

"It was a cowardly act and it's a miracle Mr Booth survived these horrific injuries."