MUGGERS left an 81-year-old ex-serviceman covered in blood after punching and robbing him as he walked home from the pub.

John McGhee was savagely beaten by at least two men in Croft Road, shortly after leaving the Wheatsheaf Ale House in Old Town at 11.20pm on Easter Monday.

At the time of the attack, John, who suffered from two fractures in his face, a fracture in his neck, black eyes and several stitches, was alone.

He said: “My mates live in Avenue Road, so we said goodnight and I began to walk down Croft Road, I was on my own.

“I was surprised, it was Easter Monday, but there was hardly anybody on the street, nor in the pub.

“Someone came behind me and hit me on the neck. I can remember somebody punching me as I was on the ground, mainly on the face.

“They knocked me down. The one who was punching me was telling the other one to go through my pockets and steal my wallet.

“They were at least two men, but may be more. They didn’t speak to me, they just hit me,” he said.

“They beat me in the face, I couldn’t defend myself because they came from behind and they left me on floor and ran away.

“They took my money, I had £110, my bank card, bus pass, and other membership cards from different clubs.”

After a few minutes John managed to pick himself off the ground and stagger down the street to his home, where his grandson Dean, 41, took care of him.

Dean said: “He kept saying ‘I lost my keys’ while ranging the bell. I opened the door. I was absolutely shocked and the first thing he said was ‘I think I have been mugged’.

“He was disorientated because he was worried only about his keys. He was in shock and covered in blood. I immediately phoned the police and asked for an ambulance to come.”

The ex Royal Air Force serviceman, known to many in Swindon as accordionist Johnny Mac, spent all night in hospital. For his daughter Connie Crocker, 58 the attack came as a huge shock.

“I lost my mum 10 years ago and I’m an only child, so I couldn’t imagine losing my dad.

“If Dean wasn’t at home, he could have been bleeding outside and that blood was awful. I won’t let my dad walking alone anymore.

“But my father is brave, he is so strong, he didn’t really feel the pain.

“He is well known in Swindon as a musician. He helps everybody.

"Dad is really active and that’s why he goes to the pub, to meet people, he is not a big drinker.”

Pub landlady Kayleigh Hughes said: “They’re a group of older chaps who come in five to six nights a week, sit quietly and don’t cause bother, just read papers and have a chat.

“We know him relatively well, he is cheeky and likes to crack a joke or two, ask the female staff members for a dance, all in jest.

“We are outraged, upset and shocked at happened. It is an atrocious attack which happened to one of the nicest, gentlemanly souls you could ask for.

“It is a worry as we do have quite a few elderly customers that come to us for their daily beverage allowance , I always hope they get home safely.”

Scared of being attacked again, the family has taken security measures by changing the door locks.

Connie added: “It’s terrible, we’ve got to pay for new locks because they got his keys and his driving licence and it’s got his address on it.

Police have started an investigation. A spokeswoman said: “Searches of the area were conducted including the use of police dogs, but no offenders were located. Our enquiries are ongoing.”

Anyone with information is urged to call 101.