A grandfather who died after he was punched by a pensioner in a row over a disabled parking space had only last week been told he had beaten cancer, it emerged yesterday. Brian Holmes, 64, was waiting in a disabled parking area at an Asda store on Saturday afternoon when he was punched and knocked to the ground by a 65-year-old man following the disagreement.
The grandfather from Sandy, Bedfordshire, was taken to hospital but died on Sunday afternoon.
Yesterday his family said that he and his wife Christine 60, whom he married nine years ago, had only just started to plan their future together after his all-clear from cancer.
In a statement, they said: ‘The family are devastated by the loss of Brian in such shocking circumstances.
‘A wife has lost her husband, best friend and carer all in one go.
‘Brian was a family man who adored his grandchildren and family, and had only last week been given the all-clear following treatment for cancer.
‘Brian and his wife were only just starting to make plans for the future that they only dared to dream of.’
A neighbour at the couple’s former home yesterday said that Mrs Holmes sometimes needed to walk with a crutch.
Mr Holmes was shopping at the Asda supermarket in the market town of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, at around 3pm on Saturday when he was attacked.
Horrified shoppers and staff tried to help him until paramedics arrived, but he died in hospital on Sunday afternoon surrounded by his family after suffering serious head injuries.
The suspected assailant left the supermarket immediately after the assault, but was arrested at his home a short time later on suspicion of manslaughter. He was held in custody at a Bedford police station, but was released on bail on Sunday evening.
Detective Inspector Liz Mead of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crime Unit, who is leading the investigation, said yesterday: ‘This is an extremely sad incident which has left a family absolutely devastated and our family liaison officers are doing all that they can to assist and support them at this very difficult time.
‘I would like to hear from anybody who was in the car park at Asda on Saturday afternoon and may have seen the altercation taking place close to the disabled parking area.
‘A number of people have already come forward but it is imperative that we speak with as many people as possible and collect all of the facts into what happened.
‘Even the smallest pieces of information could assist us with our inquiries.’
Police refused to confirm the exact nature of the disagreement between the two men.
The Asda car park has ten disabled bays outside the main entrance of the single-storey supermarket.
A spokesman for the supermarket said: ‘We are helping the police get to the bottom of what happened.’
Neighbours last night expressed shock at the death of Mr Holmes.
Pete Sheppard, 59, said: ‘I hope he rests in peace. My thoughts are with his family.’
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: ‘It’s a needless death over a stupid dispute. I’m so sad for his family.’
Last night no one was available for comment at Mr and Mrs Holmes’ £260,000 four-bedroom detached home.