Warren Free had been the victim of a previous vicious attack 11 years before his death which had left him scarred and scared, his family has revealed.
Speaking to The Voice, Warren’s dad Bob said he wanted people to understand how Warren’s past had left him “vulnerable” to the incident which eventually took his life.
He said: “Warren was a kind generous man who enjoyed his privacy.
“Although he treasured his private life it is important to me that people understand Warren’s past and why he became so vulnerable.
“In 2003 Warren suffered a vicious attack.
“He was struck repeatedly from behind as he tried to run away from the assailant.
“After this attack Warren developed post traumatic stress disorder.
“Warren seemed to find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time throughout his life.
“He was so traumatised by his attack in 2003 that he rarely left the house scared of being attacked again from behind.
“He found crowded places incredibly intimidating and avoided putting himself in that position at all costs.
“The attack left Warren with deep scars on his head, epilepsy and the partial loss of sight in his right eye.
“The image he now presented was ‘different’ from the norm and made him stand out from the crowd.”
Bob then described how Warren had contacted him asking for his advice in July last year after he had a run-in with a group of teenagers who had been bullying him with taunts and name-calling.
He said: “Warren was shouted at, called names and laughed at whenever he left the house to go to the local shops.
“One day Warren had enough of the taunting and shouted back to one of the children, asking one of them how old they were. They replied 15.
“This upset Warren, having a son of 13 it troubled him that children that young could act in this way.
“He called me that evening to tell me what happened and ask my advice.
“After this incident Warren became more of a recluse, he kept himself and Adam inside.”
Just a month later, Warren was dead, having had another encounter with a gang of teenagers.
According to Bob, in the early hours of August 29, Warren heard banging and shouting out in his back garden.
On going outside Warren witnessed his back fence being kicked down.
He said: “Warren’s biggest fear was being targeted from behind and this panicked him.
“The result of this altercation between Warren and six children ended in my two grandchildren sadly losing their father.”
During the trial, the court heard how Warren had armed himself with an iron bar before confronting the teenagers.
During the fracas that followed, the pole was snatched from him and while he lay on the floor he was kicked, stamped on and dealt a killer blow to his head with the pole.
The incident sent shockwaves throughout the local area.
After the verdicts, scores of posts appeared on Facebook supporting Warren’s family, including his teenage son Adam, who has now been formally adopted by his aunt and uncle and continues to live in the district.
Bob and wife Stephanie plan to return to their home in Portugal this week.
Warren’s daughter Zoe, who lives in Wales, took to Facebook to thank everyone for their support over the past year.
She said: “My dad helped people who wouldn’t be looked twice at by some and he would always give what he could, even if he had nothing left for himself.
“My dad would have been a proud grandad this year but I never got the chance to tell him. He would have been over the moon to know he was going to be a grandad.
“My son will never meet him and all I have now are stories to be told.
“Losing my dad left me in so much grief. I was punished enough just from that. Now I am being punished by our justice system. I do hope my dad has found peace in heaven as I know he is watching over his kids.”