A heroic council worker was ‘murdered’ by a footballer after he tried to save a young child who was being held captive inside a house, an inquest has heard.
Richard Woodcock, 38, had arrived from a neighbouring property in Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes after believing a young child ‘was being held captive’ and ‘at risk of significant harm’.
Inside the house, footballer Kelvin Odichukumma Igweani, 24, was tasered and shot four times by police after he was suspected of ‘murdering’ his neighbour, the inquest heard.
Mr Woodcock, a council highways officer, had dashed to help after hearing screams from the first-floor flat in Denmead in Milton Keynes, Bucks.
Armed police officers then stormed the apartment building after neighbours reported hearing ‘a horrible commotion’ inside.
After forcing their way inside, police discovered the body of Mr Woodcock, who had arrived from a neighbouring property ‘to help save a young child believed to be at risk of significant harm’.
Richard Woodcock, 38, had arrived from a neighbouring property in Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes after believing a young child ‘was being held captive’ and ‘at risk of significant harm’
Kelvin Odichukumma Igweani (pictured above), 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after an officer fired four shots, Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court was told
Speaking at the opening of the inquest into Mr Woodcock’s death, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik, from Thames Valley Police major crime unit, said Mr Igweani was suspected of murdering Mr Woodcock.
Thames Valley Police had been called to an ongoing disturbance at a property in Denmead, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, at around 9.40am on June 26.
Officers discovered Igweani holding the seriously injured two-year-old captive in the bedroom, before discharging four shots and a Taser against him.
Igweani, known as Kelvin, was pronounced dead at the scene and Mr Woodcock died of his head injuries.
Mr Woodcock’s devastated wife and family have since paid an emotional tribute to him and mourned their ‘huge loss’.
In a statement his 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.’
His wife, who has not been named, said: ‘Richard it has been a blessing to share my life with you, my dearest friend, my biggest love, my soul mate. My kind, generous, funny, clever, cheeky husband.
‘Thank you for loving me and being the best father to our children. I’ll love you and cherish our time together forever.’
The toddler remains in a life-threatening condition in hospital.
Inquests into the deaths of Mr Woodcock and Mr Igweani were opened at two separate hearings yesterday.
Police officers and forensic specialists examine the aftermath of the scene in Denmead, Two Mile Ash, Milton Keynes
Inquests into the deaths of Mr Woodcock and Mr Igweani (above) were opened at two separate hearings in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, yesterday
Police received a 999 call reporting an ongoing disturbance at Two Mile Ash at about 9.40am, when neighbours reported hearing a female screaming and shouting for help.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik said: ‘A female and a young child had managed to flee the address prior to police arrival.
‘However, Richard Woodcock, from a neighbouring property, had gone to the address to help save a young child, as it was believed he was still in the property, and at risk of significant harm.’
Mr Blaik said police were unable to get in as the door was locked, but that entry was gained by firearms officers who responded to the incident in an unarmed capacity to provide urgent support.
‘Having had to force entry to the address, the officers immediately saw a deceased male, who has now been identified as Richard Woodcock, on the floor.
‘And they were also aware of a distressed young child within the address,’ he said.
Mr Blaik said another man, now known to be Mr Igweani, ‘immediately became aggressive’ towards the officers.
He told the court: ‘A Taser was discharged, but this was ineffective, and Kelvin Igweani barricaded himself within the main bedroom.’
The inquest heard armed officers then tried to gain entry to that room.
Thames Valley Police had been called to an ongoing disturbance at a property (pictured above) in Denmead, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, at around 9.40am on June 26
He added: ‘A child could be heard crying, along with the sounds of an ongoing assault. Entry was gained to the bedroom, at which point a police firearm was discharged.’
Mr Blaik said police officers and ambulance staff gave first aid, but Mr Igweani was declared dead at 10.33am.
He told the court: ‘Kelvin Igweani is suspected of the murder of Richard Woodcock and the serious assault of the young male child within the address.’
Mr Blaik confirmed a post-mortem examination had taken place at Milton Keynes University Hospital and the medical cause of death for Mr Woodcock was given as traumatic head injuries.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik said police officers and ambulance staff gave first aid, but Mr Igweani (pictured above) was declared dead at 10.33am
Coroner Tom Osborne adjourned the inquest to November 18, when he hopes to set a date for the full inquest.
Mr Osborne said he knew that Mr Woodcock was ‘a very popular man’ within Milton Keynes Council.
Speaking at the opening of the inquest into Mr Igweani’s death, David Bannister from the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) said the body was aware that Thames Valley Police received a 999 call concerning a domestic incident.
He told the hearing that the IOPC has viewed body-worn video evidence and seen that the armed officers forced entry into the property, and immediately came across a dead man.
Mr Bannister said: ‘They were then confronted by Mr Kelvin Igweani and Taser was discharged. This Taser discharge was ineffective.
‘Mr Igweani moved to another room in the address and closed the door. The officers identified that Mr Igweani was in the room with a young child.
‘The officers heard noises from the room, and believed that Mr Igweani was harming the child.
‘The officers forced entry into the room. As officers gained entry into this room, Mr Igweani moved towards them, and one officer fired four shots.
‘Taser was also discharged. Medical attention was provided to Mr Igweani, but this was unsuccessful, and he was pronounced dead at 10.33am.’
Mr Bannister confirmed the medical cause of death was given as gunshot wounds to the chest.
The coroner adjourned the inquest to November 17, when a pre-inquest review may take place.
A date was not set for the full inquest hearing.