Portsmouth Marine who tackled terrorist gunman tells of medal theft anguish

A DECORATED war hero has told of his agony after thieves raided his home, snatching thousands of pounds of jewellery and all his prized service medals.

Tuesday, 19th July 2016, 7:44 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 7:52 pm
Former Royal Marine Stephen Parslow with his wife Candy and daughter Maisie on his wedding day

Distraught Stephen Parslow, a former Sergeant Major with 42 Commando Royal Marines who is awaiting a heart transplant, says the crime is putting a strain on his weakened heart.

The 54-year-old Falklands veteran was on holiday on the Isle of Wight when his home in Hayling Avenue, Portsmouth, was ransacked.

Crooks stole more than £10,000 of jewellery, including five of his service medals from conflicts in the Falklands, Northern Ireland and the Gulf as well as a Long Service and Good Conduct medal.

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Mr Parslow – who received a bravery award in the 1990s for tackling a suspected IRA gunman – fears he will never be reunited with his medals.

‘Whoever did this is scum in my eyes, they’re just low lives,’ he told The News.

‘I fought at home and overseas for 26 years to protect scumbags like that.

‘I hope they get their comeuppance.’

The crime was reported to police on July 8 although Mr Parslow believes it took place while he was on holiday, between June 24 and July 1.

There was no sign of a break-in and the father-of-two only learned of the theft after his wife Candy discovered her jewellery was missing.

‘She was distraught when she found out,’ he added.

‘She started squealing in distress. I thought she was having a heart attack.

‘I thought she was in great pain.’

Thieves had rifled through dressing tables, cupboards and jewellery boxes, taking rings, bracelets, necklaces worth about £12,000.

Among the treasured possessions to have been taken included wedding rings and a baby’s St Christopher necklace, which was given to Mr Parslow’s son after he was born five weeks prematurely.

‘It’s not the cash value that is the problem, it’s all the sentimental value of the things they took,’ said Mr Parslow.

‘They stole our wedding rings, gifts from our late parents and my son’s St Christopher.

‘My son was born prematurely and was struggling in the first weeks of his life. His uncle Rob bought him a St Christopher and hung it on his incubator.

‘It was only worth maybe £15. But it’s got so much sentimental importance. No value of money can replace that.’

Mr Parslow served in the Royal Marines for 26 years.

In 1982 he was involved in the Falklands War and fought in the battle of Mount Harriet, which saw him assaulting a dug-in position of Argentinian soldiers.

He also completed four tours of Northern Ireland and a deployment in the first Gulf War.

In 1990, while on patrol in Northern Ireland, Mr Parslow captured a terrorist who was armed with a pistol. He was hailed a hero and presented with a commendation for his courage.

After leaving the Marines, Mr Parslow remained fit and active, until a mystery virus hit two years ago.

He now suffers from cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart muscle, and is in desperate need of a transplant.

But he says the stress of the crime is putting a dangerous strain on the weakened organ.

‘If I get ill I will be too unwell to have a transplant,’ he said.

‘The stress is just adding to all this. I’m in the last chance saloon if I don’t get a little bit better.’

Police are investigating the crime and are urging those with information to call 101, quoting serial 44160253681.