A man aged 64 died yesterday after he was punched by a pensioner in a row over a disabled parking space at an Asda supermarket. Two men were waiting in a disabled parking area at the store on Saturday afternoon when they had a disagreement about a space.
A 65-year-old man then punched the victim in front of shocked families, knocking him to the ground.
Horrified shoppers and staff tried to help the man until paramedics arrived, but he died in hospital yesterday afternoon surrounded by his family.
The assailant left the supermarket in the quiet market town of Biggleswade, Bedfordshire, immediately after the assault, but was arrested at his home a short time later.
The pensioner was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter and held in custody at a Bedford police station, but was last night released on bail.
DCI Tim Redfearn, of the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Police major crime unit, said: ‘It would seem an argument over nothing has led to tragic and devastating consequences for both men and their families.
‘We are now treating this man’s death as manslaughter and I would appeal to anyone who may have seen the altercation take place between these two men at around 3pm in the Asda car park to contact us. We know they became involved in a disagreement which resulted in one man punching the other, knocking him to the ground.
‘I know the supermarket car park would have been very busy on a Saturday afternoon so if you were there at the relevant time, please call the police in confidence.’
An Asda store manager who had first aid training was among the first on the scene and helped the man until an ambulance arrived. The unnamed victim, from Sandy, Bedfordshire, was taken to Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge, with a serious head injury, but died in the critical care unit.
The car park has ten disabled bays outside the main entrance of the single-storey supermarket.
Staff there declined to comment yesterday, but an Asda spokesman said: ‘We are helping the police get to the bottom of what happened.
Our thoughts are with the gentleman’s family during this difficult time.’
A post-mortem examination will be carried out today.
There have been a several reported assaults following rows in supermarket car parks in recent years.
In 2008 a soldier, Fusilier Andy Barlow, 21, was arrested for pushing a man during an argument over a disabled parking bay at Asda in Bolton.
Mr Barlow, who lost a foot while fighting in Afghanistan, was arrested on suspicion of racially aggravated assault.
In 2007, a mother was assaulted in front of her two toddlers in an argument over a parking space at Asda.
Sarah Smith, 36, was slapped across the face when she confronted a man after he parked his car in a parent-and-child space at the supermarket in Fareham, Hampshire.
Police asked anyone with details about the incident to contact them on 101, or text 07786 200011.