Date: 3 Jan 2006
Ralph Charles Platten died the day after he was assaulted in his home by burglars.
Five people were arrested for his murder but the case against them was later dropped when the Crown Prosecution Service said that there was not enough evidence to bring charges against them.
Three or four men went to his bungalow between 5pm and 5.40pm and rang the bell and when he went to the door they rushed in, threw him to the ground, and pinned him down, causing a blow to his head and fracturing his hip. Ralph Platten said that when he opened the door he felt a blow to his head and then fell to the floor and heard a man say, 'Where's the money?'. The fall had also caused cuts to his elbow and hand. Whilst he was kept pinned to the ground other men in the group searched his home for money. they had searched his kitchen and bedroom and asked him where he kept his money. When they had gone to his home Ralph Platten had been watching television at the time.
Shortly before his murder a group of four people in hooded tops were seen near his home. One man was seen around walking from a small red car towards the other three men. The police said that they were interested in finding the small red car.
The car was thought to have driven off afterwards at high speed, with its headlights on full beam along the A149 between Sutton and Reps with Bastwick.
His killers had got away with several hundred pounds.
The man that had held Ralph Platten was described as being between 30 and 40 years, and about 5ft 9in tall. He was said to have been wearing a black woollen hat and had an accent that was described as not being local.
It was later suggested that he had been targeted by people that he had known and that his killers had possibly done some work on his house a few months before he was attacked. It was said that he had had some work done and that he had been unhappy with it.
After the robbery, he was taken to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where a decision was made to operate on him. At the inquest, it was heard that the operation was standard and necessary and that it had been carried out properly. The Coroner stressed that Ralph Platten's death was a direct result of the injuries he had received during the robbery and had nothing to do with the operation or the way that it had been carried out.
His cause of death was given as acute heart arrhythmia and it was found that he had had a type of heart disease common in elderly people although he had not been fully aware of it.
The Coroner said 'Ralph Platten died from a cardiac event following an appropriately performed medical operation which was necessarily carried out as a direct result of his receiving injuries as a consequence of an unlawful assault on him in his home'.
Ralph Platten lived alone in the house and had lived there since the 1960s. He was an RAF veteran and had fought alongside the Desert Rats in North Africa during the second world war.