Tributes have been paid to a 91-year-old crime victim who ‘went downhill’ after being targeted by a drug-addict burglar in his own home.
Louis Martin died in hospital aged 91 on December 20 after suffering a fall at home.
His family paid tribute to Louis as “a real gentleman” but described how he became more fearful at home after confronting a burglar in his flat in the early hours of the morning in September.
He even slept with a hammer after the terrifying incident.
His step-daughter Tracey Liddicoat, 53, said: “The burglary did affect him. He went downhill.
“He slept with a hammer under his bed after it happened.
“I used to phone him a couple of times a week. He would answer and say ‘I’m just having a lie down’.
“I think he was staying up all night watching the telly and then going to bed through the day.
“That wasn’t like Louis.”
Drug addict Adam Wilkins, 29, of Lewis Grove, Hartlepool, was jailed for 22 months at Teesside Crown Court last month for the burglary.
He stole the pensioner’s video player, mobile phone and a bank card and tricked a drowsy Louis into believing he had chased away a burglar.
Despite his age, Louis lived independently in his flat with help from a friend who visited him every day.
Up until recently, he loved dancing at various social clubs across the town including the Engineers, Catholic Club and Seaton club.
“Anywhere that did dancing, he went,” said Tracey.
Louis also liked a flutter on the greyhounds and was a keen bowls player for Stranton and a member of Hartlepool Indoor Bowls Club.
His bowls friend of over 10 years Terry Sherry, 85, said: “You couldn’t have met a more generous man.”
Louis’ brother, also called Terry, 86, added: “He was a good snooker player. He once beat Sid Smith, a top professional of his day.”
Louis’ father emigrated to Hartlepool from Italy in the early 1900s. The family surname Martini was later amended to Martin.
Tracey said of Louis: “He was the definition of a gentleman. He would take the shirt off his back to help others.
“A friend once said he liked his cardigan so he took it off and gave it to him.”
Louis was married twice; first to Edie whom he had a son and daughter with, and later wed Tracey’s mum Reena, who died four years ago.
He had a variety of jobs including at Hartlepool’s steelworks and docks.
Around a year before his death he was with diagnosed with a shadow on his lung.
Louis’ funeral takes place tomorrow (Thursday) at St Joseph’s Church, in St Paul’s Road, at 10am.