'Stroke victim' was shot in the eye

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The Independent Online

A grandfather who collapsed in his garden after suffering a suspected stroke had actually been shot through the eye.

Peter Hesford, a builder aged 61, was in a serious but stable condition in hospital last night after being hit by a bullet that became lodged in his brain.

It was thought that the father of six, from Chorlton, Manchester, had a stroke when he collapsed while gardening on 19 April. But X-rays at Wythenshawe Hospital revealed that a bullet had become embedded in his brain after entering his head through his eye.

Mr Hesford, the secretary of Altrincham Football Club, has no memory of what happened and does not know who shot him or why. Marie Fuller, 50, his partner of 23 years, said the family was waiting to wake up from a "nightmare".

"We thought he had had a stroke and hit his glasses on something as he fell, causing it to shatter into his eye," she said. "His speech was incoherent so he couldn't tell us what had happened. The paramedics thought he had had a stroke too. Then they did some brain scans in hospital and that's when they said it looked like he had been shot. It is a nice area we live in, so someone must have seen something or know something."

Detective Chief Inspector Steve Eckersley, of Greater Manchester Police, said the case was "probably the strangest incident" he had investigated. "We cannot rule out that this bullet was fired into the air and then came down and went into his eye, but at the moment it remains a mystery," he added.

Mr Hesford, who is now at Hope Hospital, has lost his sight in his left eye and is partly paralysed down his right side. Doctors had to stop an operation to remove the bullet, fearing it might kill him.