Tributes to Thetford man who died following an alleged assault

Friends and neighbours have paid moving tributes to a 65-year-old Thetford man who died following an alleged assault, describing him as 'quiet and caring'.

Residents of Ulfkell Road said Ronald Beacham had lived in their street for many years and was devoted to caring for his partner Pauline Rourke, who died last year following a long fight with ill health.

The ex-serviceman died at Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge on Thursday after suffering serious head injuries during an alleged assault in Fir Road shortly before 2am on December 4.

Michael O'Leary, 56, of no fixed address, was charged with grievous bodily harm with intent and appeared before magistrates in Bury St Edmunds last Monday.

He was denied bail and will next appear at Norwich Crown Court on December 20.

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Beryl Nicholls, a friend of Mr Beacham, said he used to run the bar at the nearby Pine Close Community Centre.

She added: 'I did not know him that well. I knew him in passing to say hello to, but I always noticed how well he looked after Pauline. It seemed to be a very debilitating illness which left her in a wheelchair and he used to help lift her out into the car. He seemed to be very devoted to her.'

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She believed he had relatives living nearby in Bracken Road and Kimms Belt, adding: 'I was shocked and surprised to hear of his death. He always kept himself to himself and didn't bother anyone. He never had any problems with anyone.'

George Margrie, 77, who lives nearby in Ulfkell Road, said he knew Mr Beacham from the Royal British Legion in Thetford Market Place where the two men regularly popped in for a drink.

He described how Mr Beacham offered to help him install a fitted kitchen at his home after he had spoken about it during a visit to the Legion.

He added he believed his neighbour had two sons and a daughter.

'He was a very nice man, a quiet man and never caused any trouble. I have got no complaints about him,' Mr Margrie added.

Police officers conducted house-to-house inquiries in the aftermath of Mr Beacham's death and were on the scene into Sunday evening.

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