Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THE FINEST OF MEN; Loving Tributes to Dad amid Reports of Mercy Crew Delay EXCLUSIVE

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

THE FINEST OF MEN; Loving Tributes to Dad amid Reports of Mercy Crew Delay EXCLUSIVE

Article excerpt

Byline: By MIKE MORGAN

HEARTBREAKING tributes were made today by the family of a "kind and gentle" man who died in a violent New Year's Day attack while walking his dog home.

Cleveland Police have launched a murder-style investigation after an altercation developed in Inglewood Avenue, Marske, between much-loved grandad of twins Ron Sharples, 52, of Charnwood Close, Marske, and three drunken youths.

And it emerged today that a hoax 999 caller delayed the ambulance response to treat Mr Sharples as he lay dying in the street.

His family said Mr Sharples had gone out to find his pet collieCharlie who had escaped the family home around 2am.

Accompanied by wife Christine and family friend Angela Farrell, the trio searched the streets on the estate for the missing dog.

Mr Sharples found the dog and was bringing it home when an altercation occurred with several young men.

Devastated widow Christine and son Lee, 26, and daughter Karen, 22, told the Gazette that Mr Sharples was a gentle, kind and loving man who would not harm anyone.

Lee said: "It's just unbelievable that this could happen.

"He was just out looking for his dog. We are all devastated and would all just like to pay tribute to a wonderful man. This should not have happened."

A post-mortem examination was carried out on Tuesday on Mr Sharples, who police say was found unconscious in the street in the early hours of New Year's Day.

They revealed the projects manager for Marske Site Services died from severe head injuries after being assaulted in Inglewood Avenue.

Mr Sharples had twin grandaughters, Hannah and Eve, 19 months, whom he doted on.

Their dad Lee said: "He used to take the dog with him wherever he went. He thought the world of his dog and his family and his grandchildren.

"Hewouldn't have harmed a fly.He was the most gentle, kind person you could meet. He would help anybody in any situation. It's unbelievable this has happened."

Meanwhile, it was revealed that paramedics took 21 minutes to reach Mr Sharples after they forced to deal with a hoax call.

Paul Liversidge, director of ambulance operations for the North-East Ambulance Service, said the service had received 600 emergency calls in the early hours of New Year's Day - the same number usually received in a 24-hour period.

Mr Liversidge said a hoax 999 call had been received at the same time as the call came from the police over Mr Sharples.

He said: "This abuse of our service on the busiest night of the year appears to have had tragic consequences."

Mr Sharples was born in Middlesbrough and had lived in Normanby. For the last 26 years had lived in Marske.

His family said he was a lifelong Boro fan, going to most games, including the UEFA cup final against Seville and also enjoyed England matches. …

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