A WAR hero died on his 64th wedding anniversary after he allegedly resisted a thief who was trying to steal his wallet, a court has heard.

John Gillespie, 88, was taking a stroll along a riverside to look at the daffodils when a man stepped in front of him, a the High Court in Edinburgh heard. Mr Gillespie tried to fend off the man with a walking stick and ended up on the ground.

He required surgery for a broken hip, but he went into a steady decline and died in hospital about a week later.

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James Duguid, 51, of Stirling, denies attempting to rob and murdering Mr Gillespie, also of Stirling, in April 2011.

It is claimed he demanded the pensioner hand over his wallet, and pushed and pulled him at an underpass at the junction of Lovers Walk and Riverside in the town. He allegedly hit him with the walking stick, and dragged him along the ground.

Yesterday, Mr Gillespie's grandson Mark Cassidy, 41, told the court he recalled his "papa" being in very good spirits when he saw him about a day or two before the incident.

Mr Cassidy said his grandfather had been "no shrinking violet" and it did not surprise him that he had offered resistance.

Mr Gillespie's son John, 57, told the court that his father was a former Royal Navy sailor who had been mentioned in despatches for his conduct during the Second World War.

The trial continues.