A 31-year-old boxer died hours after winning a ‘gruelling’ ten-round fight after suffering ‘blows the head’, an inquest heard yesterday.
Scott Westgarth was described as being ‘in a daze’ after the bout, in which he suffered a knock down towards the end despite getting his hand raised in victory.
He was helped to the changing room in Doncaster, where he told his father his head was ‘killing him’, before paramedics were called and he was rushed to hospital.
British boxer Scott Westgarth (pictured in March 2014) died after being rushed to hospital following his victory over Dec Spellman
A CT scan revealed a huge bleed on the brain and Westgarth succumbed to his injuries on February 25, 2018 – one day after the fight at Doncaster Dome.
An inquest into his death yesterday at Doncaster Coroner’s Court heard emotional evidence from Scott’s mother, father and partner of 14 years, Natalie Kerr.
The court heard how the bout against opponent Dec Spellman, was Westgarth’s tenth professional fight and arguably the biggest and most important of his career.
His victory put him one win away from becoming the English light heavyweight champion. Miss Kerr said: ‘This was a really big fight and a really big opportunity for him.’
Westgarth (centre, holding his head) was helped out of the ring and to the back of the venue in Doncaster after conducting a post-fight interview in February 2018 (above)
His father John Westgarth, who watched the fight, told the inquest his son had knocked Spellan down before being put to the canvas himself in the tenth round.
Boxer Scott Westgarth celebrates a win with his girlfriend Natalie Kerr in July 2016
At the conclusion of the fight the boxer returned to his corner and was checked by a doctor, who asked two questions and shone a torch into his eyes, it was heard. ‘I told him to go and get his hand raised,’ Mr Westgarth said.
But when returning to his feet the boxer was ‘unsteady’ and tried to walk in the wrong direction, he added. He said: ‘I know my son and that wasn’t him.’
Miss Kerr, who went into the ring to congratulate her partner, said: ‘Normally after a fight he’s bouncing around the ring but he appeared really, really dazed. He just slumped over me, he didn’t say anything.’
Miss Kerr told the court she remembered seeing her partner being helped out of the ring and to the back of the venue after conducting a post-fight interview. She added: ‘It was like he couldn’t stand.’
Mr Westgarth, a former professional boxer himself, told the court he went to see his son in the dressing room and found him lying conscious on the floor.
Moments later he rolled on to his side and vomited before telling his father that his head was ‘f***ing killing him’, the court heard.
Mr Westgarth requested a doctor overseeing the event to attend and paramedics were called to the venue a short time later.
Miss Kerr told the court when she went into the changing room Westgarth was sitting against a wall with an oxygen mask on, but that the situation didn’t appear to be overly serious.
She said: ‘I felt it was quite a lax environment… there was no urgency at all, I was quite reassured thinking he must be alright.’
Despite showing signs of a brain injury, Mr Westgarth was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI), where there is no specialist neurological unit.
Mr Westgrath said his son’s last words to him, before leaving the venue, were, ‘I’m not getting on there like a t**t’, when asked to move himself onto a stretcher.
‘That was Scott, he was funny’, Mr Westgarth added.
Following a scan at DRI which revealed the nature of his injury the boxer, by that point unconscious, was transferred to Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.
But Mr Westgarth’s condition ‘never improved’ and he was pronounced dead on February 25, 2018, Home Office pathologist Dr Lumb told the court.
The professor, who carried out the post mortem, said the boxer died from complications arising from an acute subdural haemorrhage, which is a blood clot on the brain.
He added: ‘I’m satisfied that the cause of death was a head injury.’
Scott’s mother, Rebecca Marshall, provided an emotional statement to the coroner which was read out by a court official.
She said: ‘Words cannot describe how heartbroken I am and what a hole he has left. He was a lovely child and always looked after his mum. I want people to know how proud I am to be his mum.’
The five-day inquest continues.