TWO men have been charged with murder following the death of an army veteran in the takeaway where he worked.
Friends of John Auld said he had intended to give up the part-time job as a delivery driver at Kopa’s takeaway when his military pension came through in May over fears for his safety.
He was said to be increasingly concerned over drunken behaviour in Tranent’s High Street. It is believed he was attacked after going to the defence of the takeaway owner on Sunday evening.
Police last night revealed that two men, aged 30 and 36, had been charged with the murder of 59-year-old Mr Auld. They were due to appear at Haddington Sheriff Court today.
Tributes were paid today to Mr Auld by organisers of the Edinburgh Tattoo, where he operated spotlights during performances for 32 years.
Tattoo managing director Richard Hambleton called him a “tireless and dedicated” worker whose commitment to the event was “infectious”.
Mr Auld, who was shot in the leg while serving with the Royal Engineers in Northern Ireland in the 1970s, had undergone bypass surgery following a heart attack around 12 years ago. He was described as a fit and active man who “loved life”, enjoyed fishing and tinkering with motorbikes and cars.
John McGovern, 46, who was one of Mr Auld’s best friends, said: “I’d known him all of my life and I’m just devastated. He only lived across the street from me and he was always stopping in for a cup of tea and a chat.”
As a young man, Mr Auld worked as a butcher in Ormiston – earning himself the nickname “Chopper” – before joining the army. He saw service in Northern Ireland before leaving to become a civilian driver with the Ministry of Defence, based at Redford Barracks.
Afterwards, Mr Auld, of Limeylands Crescent, Ormiston, became an HGV driver and was based most recently in Sighthill.
Mr McGovern said: “John often talked about trouble in the High Street. He was worried about being attacked. He turned 60 in May and was getting his army pension so he was looking at stopping the deliveries. He only did the job at weekends to give him petrol money.
“John loved the Tattoo. About 12 years ago he was doing the lights when he suffered a heart attack.
“He recently sat medical tests for his HGV licence and passed with flying colours, so he seemed to be in good health.”
His elder brother, Willie Auld, 61, was reported as saying: “John was an easy-going lad who did not have a bad word to say about anybody. He was helpful to everybody.”
Mr Auld had been with his partner, Isobel, for more than 20 years, and was a stepfather to her three daughters, and doted on his grandchildren.
Superintendent Phil O’Kane said: “We would ask any members of the community who were in the High Street in Tranent between 4.30pm and 5.30pm yesterday, and who may have seen the original disturbance to speak to police.
“We would ask any home or business owners who have CCTV which covers this location to contact police.”