Burglar who attacked D-Day veteran, 96, with claw hammer leaving him for dead, given 20 year sentence

A bogus builder has been given a 20-year extended sentence at for attempting to bludgeon 96-year-old D-Day veteran Jim Booth to death with a claw hammer.

Joseph Isaacs, 40, carried out the ‘brutal and utterly senseless attack’ on the Royal Navy veteran, described as ‘remarkable’ by Judge David Ticehurst, with a claw hammer before leaving him for dead.

Illiterate Isaacs, 40, shouted ‘money money money’ as he repeatedly hit Mr Booth over the head at the pensioner’s home in Taunton, Somerset.

Isaacs had knocked on his victim’s door and offered to carry out repairs to the roof. He became enraged when the former Lieutenant Commander turned him down, and forced his way into the house where he began the attack.

Mr Booth, who played a key part in the success of the D-Day landings and went on to clear mines in the Mediterranean after the war, tried to escape by retreating into his house but was pursued by Isaacs, who hit him again and again with the new claw hammer.

Joseph Isaacs, left, has been found guilty of attempting to murder Jim Booth, right (PA)
Attack victim and D-Day veteran Jim Booth, 96, reacted to the attack by saying, ‘Worse things happen at sea.’ (PA)
Mr Booth played a key part in the success of the D-Day landings (PA)

After the sentencing at Taunton Crown Court it emerged that Isaacs’ defence team had unsuccessfully tried to stop images of the bloody aftermath of the attack being shown to the jury in case it prejudiced their verdict.

Isaacs, of no fixed address, denied intending to kill Mr Booth, claiming instead he went to the house for food as he was ‘starving’.  He had already admitted causing grievous bodily harm with intent, aggravated burglary and six allegations of fraud in relation to the attack at an earlier hearing.

Great-grandfather Mr Booth was left with multiple skull fractures and lacerations to his head, hands and arms after answering the door to Isaacs on November 22 last year.

Isaacs was seen using Mr Booth’s stolen debit card to purchase himself a McDonald’s meal (SWNS)
He was seen on CCTV enjoying a McDonald’s meal while reading the paper (SWNS)
The thief also used Mr Booth’s debit card in a branch of B&M (SWNS)
Great-grandfather Jim Booth was left with multiple skull fractures (SWNS)

On the day of the vicious assault, Isaacs used Mr Booth’s stolen debit card in a Burger King restaurant.

The following day he used it on five more occasions, including in McDonald’s and B&M.


Isaacs was found guilty of attempted murder by a jury of seven women and five men after less than two hours of deliberation.

After hearing the verdict Rachel Drake, for the prosecution, said Mr Booth wanted to be present for sentencing.

The veteran had spent nine days in hospital following the attack before being discharged.

Sentencing Isaacs, Judge Ticehurst said: ‘It was a brutal and utterly senseless attack on him. Jim Booth was 96-years-old, living on his own but with remarkable independence and vigour.

‘The affect upon him and his family has been devastating as is clear from Mr Booth’s victim impact statement.

‘His daughter Victoria Pugh also spoke of the affects of your crimes on them.

‘That your crimes have had such a devastating and damaging impact on them is something you should reflect upon in the years before you.’

The judge added that Isaacs had shown no ‘remorse’ for his attack, was dangerous and met the criteria for an extended sentence.