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I’m too scared to go out’

PUBLISHED: 07:45 30 June 2006 | UPDATED: 11:07 22 October 2010

Frank Howard moved to Norfolk hoping for a peaceful retirement after 22 years in the army.

But on Wednesday the widower had to be moved to safety after suffering a week-long terror campaign against him at his Dereham home - culminating in him being shot with an air rifle.

Frank Howard moved to Norfolk hoping for a peaceful retirement after 22 years in the army.

But on Wednesday the widower had to be moved to safety after suffering a week-long terror campaign against him at his Dereham home - culminating in him being shot with an air rifle.

The attacks on the 63-year-old ex-serviceman, who had postings in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Greece, began on Wednesday June 21 when the front door of his flat in the Gatehouse in Norwich Road was peppered by pellets.

The armed assaults on his home continued nightly and Mr Howard described being left terrified of stepping outside after he was shot in the arm through his open front door on Sunday evening.

In January, 95-year-old war veteran Ralph Platten was murdered at his home in Sutton, near Stalham

and there was anger at this latest attack on a vulnerable elderly man who had given up years of his life to serve his country.

Mr Howard, who served in the Army Catering Corps, said: "I have been too scared to go outside since it happened and have been sat inside, too frightened to do anything or go anywhere.

"I just hear the cracks at night but dare not go out until the next morning and find these bullets scattered around.

"I fear for my safety, it has left me with a hell of a bruise and if that bullet had been a few inches to the left it would have hit me in the heart.

"I never had anything like this happen to me while I was in the army but I move to Dereham and this happens.

"I came here to settle down in this flat for the rest of my life but I don't want to live somewhere where somebody is taking shots at me. I'm desperate to get out."

Broadland Housing Association rents the property to Mr Howard at the Gatehouse and director of housing Gary Orr said it acted quickly to move him out of the property ahead of rehousing him.

"Broadland Housing has made an offer of temporary accommodation because we take this incident very seriously," he said.

"We will do all we can to help him resolve this situation."

President of the Dereham branch of the Royal British Legion Rowland Hall said: "This is going on every day, you can't open the papers without reading about some ex-serviceman being attacked.

"It does make you angry to hear about it and however you look at this it is a very serious incident.

"The majority of people have respect for people who have served their country. It is just this thuggish minority who are out to cause trouble."

Norfolk police are continuing their investigations and are analysing the pellets lodged in Mr Howard's front door and doorway.

A spokesman for Norfolk police said: "Inquiries into this are continuing and anyone who witnessed any suspicious behaviour prior to this incident should contact Dereham police on 0845 4564567."


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