A GOOD Samaritan dad was beaten to death with a dumbbell while he saved a two-year-old boy in his neighbour’s flat, a coroner has said.
The body of Richard Woodcock, 38, was found when police forced their way into a property in Milton Keynes, Bucks., shortly before 10am on June 26 last year.
The highways officer had gone to the next door flat to help the tot, who was thought to be in danger, Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court heard.
Kelvin Odichukumma Igweani, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after a police officer fired four shots.
Coroner Tom Osborne ruled Mr Woodcock was unlawfully killed and added that the little boy, who suffered life threatening injuries and needed surgery, was saved by Mr Woodcock’s “heroic conduct”.
A post mortem found Mr Woodcock suffered traumatic head injuries, consistent with repeated blows to the head area.
It is thought that a large kettle bell was used as a weapon on Mr Woodcock, the court heard.
The coroner said Mr Woodcock was assaulted and “his life was lost” but “he saved the life of a two-year-old boy”.
The hero dad had reacted after a “altercation” in the neighbouring flat, which had sent a screaming woman rushing to his home “fearful of her life and obviously in an agitated state”.
When he went to help, the door opened and he was dragged in and seriously assaulted “to the point where he was hit with a 4kg dumb bell”, the coroner said.
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Mr Woodcock’s death has had a “devastating” effect on his family, who will be “haunted” by what happened and that a life was “needlessly” taken.
The coroner told them Mr Woodcock “will be remembered for his heroism and his bravery but I think he will be remembered for more than his death”.
Earlier the court had heard how his wife, Kelly, was on a 999 telephone call to the police when he decided to go and see if he could help the child who was in the flat.
When officers forced their way in, they immediately saw a dead man, later identified as Mr Woodcock.
Officers gained entry to the address and saw Mr Woodcock prone on the floor. There was a large kettle bell and he had significant head injuries.
Detective Sergeant Mike West
Detective Sergeant Mike West, of Thames Valley Police, had told the court that two firearms officers had responded to the incident and were at the scene.
A taser was used on Mr Igweani, who had become “aggressive”.
Mr West said: “Officers gained entry to the address and saw Mr Woodcock prone on the floor. There was a large kettle bell and he had significant head injuries.”
The inquest previously heard that a Taser was discharged, but this was ineffective, and Mr Igweani barricaded himself in the main bedroom.
Armed officers tried to get into that room. A child could be heard crying, and the sounds of an ongoing assault.
Entry was gained to the bedroom, at which point a police firearm was discharged. Police officers and ambulance staff gave first aid.
The coroner said “officer shots were fired and Mr Igweani suffered gunshot wounds” and died at the scene.
Mr West replied: “Yes, sir.”
The coroner said the little boy suffered serious injuries and spent two months in hospital but had now “miraculously made a recovery”.
He added that he hoped at some point the family, who did not want to speak after the inquest, will be able to think of their loved one and recall “happier times”, and added that Milton Keynes-born Mr Woodcock would be “remembered for a very long time”.
Paying tribute to him at the time, Mr Woodcock’s family said: “We have always been so proud of Richard and everything that he has achieved in life.
“We are devastated that Richard has been taken from us in such circumstances but we are also so immensely proud of the sacrifice that he has made to try and save a little boy’s life.
“His actions on Saturday morning were the type of man he was and that is how we would like him remembered.
“A lot of people loved Richard, probably more than he ever realised, and he will be a huge loss to all of his friends, family and work colleagues.”
An inquest into Mr Igweani’s death will be held at a later date.