CCTV images show the three suspects
Police hunt yobs who 'crippled' war heroAn 83-year-old war veteran might never walk again after being pushed into a canal by a gang of youths, police said today.
The pensioner was fishing with his nephew in St Helens, Merseyside, when they were both pushed into the Leeds-Liverpool canal.
Detectives today released CCTV pictures of three youths thought to be responsible for the incident, which is being treated as a wounding offence.
The victim, named by police only as Brian, remains in hospital with two broken legs.
Police say he might never regain his ability to walk.
His 41-year-old nephew was uninjured in the incident, which happened at 4pm on July 13.
The victim's wife, who asked only to be named as Margery, said: "It is an absolute disgrace what has happened and the people responsible should have their names published in the paper when they are caught, so that people know who they are and what they did.
"It was so cowardly what they did."
The victim, who has been married for 59 years, is a father of two sons and grandfather of six.
After serving as a signaller in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, he became a prison officer, retiring at 60 in 1984.
Detective Chief Inspector Dave Brunskill said: "He would spend five days a week fishing in the St Helens area until 10 years ago when a severe stroke left him semi-paralysed.
"He couldn't drive any more and Margery used to take him to St Helens on the train three times a week so he could continue with his fishing.
"He was still a very active person, despite the disability the stroke caused.
"Brian's stated that he feels responsible for his nephew falling into the canal and has appologised.
"He also apologised to the two men who kindly assisted in pulling him out of the canal on the day.
"The effect for Margery and Brian is immense.
"Brian is unlikely to be able to walk again so they may have to move from the semi-detached house they have lived in for 54 years. He will need constant care where he was active before.
"There's no way of knowing how Brian will recover but it will be a very long process."
Mr Brunskill added: "We are treating this offence as wounding.
"This incident happened at quite a busy location, close to a Matalan store, and I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and believes they may have witnessed something to come forward.
"I am particularly keen to speak to the three people whose images we have released today. I believe they may have information which could prove vital to our investigation.
"If you are the parents of one of the youngsters pictured, please make contact with police."
Anyone with information is asked to contact St Helens CID on 0151 777 1577 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.