|William Adamson holds a photo taken at the Hockey Hall of Fame of himself (right) and his friend Lionel "Mel" Butler, 90, in his home in Toronto on Wednesday. Butler was the victim of an alleged home invasion and beating. (Ernest Doroszuk/QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Lionel Butler — a 90-year-old war veteran and ex-championship Toronto boxer — was so badly hurt by two accused female home invaders that he barely recalls being beaten, cut and robbed, a worried and disgusted detective told the Sun.
Known as “Mel,” the widowed Timmins native and World War II soldier was released from hospital two days after being assaulted in his Gerrard St. E.-Greenwood Ave. apartment.
But the previously “spry” senior was soon readmitted “with stroke-like symptoms,” Det. Royce McDonald said after announcing the arrest of two women Wednesday.
One is well-known to police, with an extensive robbery and assaults record. The second is also known, but has no criminal record.
Money and possessions were stolen in the Nov. 17 robbery, but Butler was unable to say if his identification or bank cards are missing. From Wyoming, his daughter — who has power of attorney — told a friend $80,000 is missing from her dad’s bank account, which is now being investigated.
Bashed on the head, Butler also suffered “massive cuts to his arms,” McDonald said. “It’s horrible, just horrible.”
During a brief recent visit, he said the senior could only tell him “once he was struck, he blacked out.”
Police and paramedics were alerted by Butler’s building manager, who saw him staggering from his apartment.
“Something like this can be devastating for someone of that age,” McDonald said.
After police announced the arrests, Butler’s long-time friend William “Willie” Adamson, 80, emailed Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Mayor Rob Ford, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair and media outlets including the Sun.
Calling the attack on his 40-year pal “very sad,” he said the former LCBO employee fell into the clutches of a group of young women and men who isolated him from friends and “were taking his money.
“Mel’s always been a great person ... everybody likes him,” Adamson said in an interview. He said the building manager changed Butler’s door locks and is caring for his flat.
After being arrested by Toronto Police Nov. 25 at her Renfrew, Ont. home, Melissa Cooper, 26, was charged with robbery, aggravated assault, and failing to comply with a probation order.
At a bail hearing Wednesday, Cooper was remanded until Dec. 17, for another hearing via a video link to her jail.
Arrested Nov. 23 in Toronto, Debra Hinsley, 49, was charged with robbery and aggravated assault, then released on a promise to attend court.