A war veteran who suffered a fatal heart attack may have been saved if a defibrillator had not been stolen days earlier.
Grandfather Peter Lane, 73, was fishing by a lake when he collapsed and fellow angler Wayne Gale rushed to grab a machine.
But it dawned on him the defibrillator stationed a mile away had been taken by a senseless thief around 10 days earlier.
He was forced to drive to the next nearest which was one miles away from the Decoy Lakes in Whittlesey, Cambs.
It took him eight minutes instead of two to get the equipment back to the scene by which time paramedics had arrived.
They were unable to save Mr. Lane despite treating him for 25 minutes and campaigners say the delay in getting the defibrillator to him may have cost the pensioner his life.
Wayne, 37, said: “Every minute counts. Getting the first defibrillator would have given him a lot better chance of surviving.”
His son Rick posted on Facebook: “The gentleman that passed away at Decoy was my father, Peter Lane.
“A father of three boys, a husband and a proud Grandad of six.
“An ex-solider who was fishing with his Regimental Family at the time.
“I just wanted to say that our family have been blown away and taken great comfort from the actions of Wayne Gale and colleagues at the scene.”
Defibrillators For All, a charity encouraging implementation of defibrillators in public places, has so far placed 18 defibrillators in Whittlesey.
Following the incident the charity has received a flurry of donations and is ordering a new one for the local lakes to be given in memory of the victim.
Founder and chair Deborah Slator said: “Today our worst nightmare became a reality.
“Our ‘stolen’ defibrillator was needed, and the end result is a man died when he may not have had to.
“The person who stole the defib however has caused all sorts distress today. I hope they feel good in themselves.”
Rick added: “If anything good can come of such sad times then this site and the work of people such as Deborah Slater are living proof that they can.
“Our family would like to thank you all and join Defibrillators For All in ensuring that anyone who should need the help that my father needed should have access to it.
“Thank you everyone.”
Cambridgeshire Police believe the defibrillator which is worth #850 was stolen late on May 18 or early the next day.
by Jessica Fleig