Anniversary of Brighton street attack prompts call to act responsibily

Robbie Pactom who died after an attack in Sillwood Street, Brighton

Robbie Pactom who died after an attack in Sillwood Street, Brighton

First published in News by

A woman whose brother died 18 years ago as a result of a violent assault says his attackers may not even know they are killers.

Ronnie Pactom was attacked in Sillwood Street, Brighton, by two men who tried to rob him.

He was hit over the head with a heavy glass ashtray causing shards of glass to seriously damage his eye while walking home from a wine bar in Preston Street on December 14, 1993.

He underwent two operations to save the sight in his eye but due to suffering from bronchiectasis, a chronic obstruction of the lungs, his body failed to cope with the anaesthetic.

He died nine months later in the respiratory ward at Hove General Hospital, aged 43.

His attackers have never been caught.

Eighteen years later, his sister Ann Usmar, 57, is reminding people to think before they act this Christmas.

She said: “Every year his anniversary comes round and I think ‘These people don’t know what they’ve done’. Our family has never been able to get over the loss. He is missed every single day since his death.

“I’m not looking for a conviction or chasing justice, I just want to let his attackers know, if they remember the incident, that they have blood on their hands.”

'Gentle and caring'

Ronnie, a plumber who lived in London, was only in Brighton to help his sister prepare for a travelling trip to Africa.

Ms Usmar said: “He was gentle, passive and caring. We moved out together from an early age and lived together in London at one point. He was my best friend.

“Violence is never the answer. I wonder how the families of these young men would be coping if the same thing happened to them or indeed how the young men themselves would be coping if someone took one of their children in this way.”

A Sussex Police spokesman said: “We want people to enjoy themselves and have a happy Christmas but to behave responsibly with respect for others.”

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