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Wife 'held dying husband's hand after he was run over by car thieves'

Mike Samwell died outside his home on April 23 Photo: Family handout

A sobbing widow told a court she clutched her husband's hand telling him she loved him as he lay dying after being run over by car thieves.

Ex-Royal Navy officer Mike Samwell, 35, had been awoken alongside his wife Jessica, by a sound every householder, "must fear and dread" - a break-in at their home in the dead of night, Manchester Crown Court heard.

She roused him and he dashed downstairs in just his underwear to discover burglars had broken in through the kitchen patio doors and someone was in his Audi S3 sports car outside his house on Cranbourne Road in Chorlton, south Manchester.

But when he went out to confront them, followed by his wife, he was run over twice by his own car, causing "catastrophic" chest injuries.

Mrs Samwell broke down in tears as she gave evidence from behind a screen in the witness box at the trial of driver Ryan Gibbons, 29, who denies murder.

When she got outside her husband was on the floor under the wheels of his car, resting on his chest. The car then rolled off him as it reversed leaving him between both sets of wheels. It ran over him again and sped off.

In a police video interview played to the court, Mrs Samwell said:

When I got to him he had tyre marks across his chest.

"There was blood coming out of the back of his head. He was making an awful noise.

"I was ringing the police and trying to talk to the police.

"I was shouting, 'Help! Help! Somebody help me!'

"I was just telling him that I loved him and holding his hand."

– Mrs Samwell

Mr Samwell's father, sat in the public gallery, tilted his head up to the ceiling fighting back tears.

Gibbons put his hands to his face and his head down so low he was barely visible above the front of the dock where he sat as the video was played.

Emily Teare, an off duty police officer and neighbour, told the court she heard Mr Samwell, who worked as a nuclear engineer after 12 years in the Navy, with "authority" shouting, "Get out of the car!"

She also heard tyres screeching, screaming and groaning and went to investigate the commotion, around 3am on April 23.

When she arrived at the scene the victim was responsive but his life was ebbing away, the jury heard.

Ms Teare, a detective constable with Cheshire Police, said: "He had laboured breathing. There was blood to his head and his face. I asked him his name and he replied, 'Mike'. There was no further response.

"Mr Samwell's breathing slowed, stopped blinking and his eyes glazed over."

He had suffered 39 separate external injuries, with "catastrophic" damage to his chest and heart which proved fatal.

Gibbons, of Steven Court, Chorlton, admits burglary and aggravated vehicle taking without consent, but denies murder and manslaughter on April 23 this year.

Co-accused Raymond Davies, 21, of Castlefield Walk, Manchester, also admitted a count of burglary but denies manslaughter and aggravated vehicle taking without consent.

It is alleged he earlier cased the address to plan the car theft and drove Gibbons to the house in a BMW.

It is alleged two other men were part of the four-strong gang who planned the botched burglary and theft of the sports car. The two other men have not been identified.

Gibbons' ex-partner Stacey Hughes, 28, of Steven Court, Chorlton, denies assisting an offender by allegedly lying to police after the incident and booking a hotel room for him in a false name.

Alistair Webster QC, opening the case for the prosecution, told the jury it was inconceivable that Gibbons, as he claims, was not aware he had driven over Mr Samwell and only felt a "bump" when he drove away.

The trial was adjourned until tomorrow morning.