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Friend’s tribute to Ronnie, the most gentle and patient of men

74-year-old widower killed by car fleeing police was on his way to church that was his ‘family’

12 April, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Ronnie McArthur, ‘a true gentleman’

FAMILY and friends this week paid tribute to a widower who died after being hit by a car believed to be fleeing police from the scene of a robbery.

Ronnie McArthur, 74, described as a “generous man” and “a true gentleman”, had been on his way to Old St Pancras Church before the collision at the junction of York Way and Copenhagen Street in King’s Cross last Tuesday.

He had regularly attended the church with his wife, Ann, before her death in October last year after battling several chronic illnesses.

Jade Best, who helped care for Mrs McArthur in her final few years and became a close friend of her husband, said: “Ronnie was heartbroken when Ann died.

“He was amazing with her – one of the most gentle and patient men I have ever met. It was true love for sure.”

Ms Best helped to arrange Mrs McArthur’s funeral at the church.

She said: “After Ann passed away there was a group of us who would go round to Ronnie almost every day. Everything he had done for so long was for Ann. They had been married for more than 50 years. We were worried how he would do after. We were worried he wouldn’t look after himself.”

The couple did not have children, but Ms Best would bring her daughter Maisie, now three, to Mr McArthur’s house in Ripplevale Grove, Canonbury, as often as she could.

“Maisie could do no wrong in his eyes,” the 29-year-old said.

“She would make a mess and he would barely notice. She would be jumping on his bed, and he would say: ‘It’s fine, I’ll get a new one.’

“He didn’t tell a lot of jokes and some people thought he was a serious man, but Maisie brought out a younger side in him. He had this amazing laugh that made you laugh.”]

Mr McArthur, originally from Scotland, was a financial director and accountant. He continued to work until his death.

He spent his last Christmas with Ms Best and her family at their home in Lever Street, Clerkenwell.

“I was so blessed to have known him for as long as I did,” she said.

“I will always have my memories of him. Like when he sat with Maisie watching Brave on Christmas Day.

“He would tell us who had a real Scottish accent and who didn’t.

“I keep thinking he is going to ring up at some point and invite me and Maisie round for our eggs-and-soldiers lunch. The world is going to be a sadder place without him.”

Father James Elston, of St Pancras Old Church, said: “I happened to meet Ronnie by chance several years ago when his wife was in St Pancras Hospital. He had brought her over in a wheelchair to see the church.

“They quickly became regulars and, as well as caring for Ann so beautifully, he also immersed himself in the life of the church.

“Having little family of his own, the church became his family and he made real and deep friendships with people of every age and background.”

Father James added: “He found walking a good way to help his grief over losing his wife and was walking to church on the day of the tragic incident. He will be sadly missed at Old St Pancras.”

Police are investigating a robbery in Holloway in which a man was reportedly assaulted by a group of men who then took his possessions.

Officers later pulled up beside a Kia Stinger in York Way, which they believed was linked to the robbery, at which point it drove off and hit Mr McArthur.

Four men are believed to have fled the scene. Three men, aged 18, 20 and 22, were arrested on suspicion of robbery. Two have been released under investigation and one has been released on bail.

Police confirmed on Wednesday that they were still looking for another man in connection with the incident.

The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) has launched an investigation into the incident.

A member of Mr McArthur’s family, who did not wish to be named, said: “Ronnie was a kind, generous man, a true gentleman.

“He was a rare find who wanted the best for everyone. His loss will be felt deeply by all those who knew him.”

The family are appealing to members of the public who might have seen anything to report it to the IOPC or police.

Contact the IOPC on 0800 096 9076 or email copenhagenstreet@policeconduct.gov.uk

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