Heroic neighbour Richard Woodcock saved Milton Keynes boy's life before being killed with kettlebell

Richard Woodcock died after being hit with a dumbbell, an inquest heard.
Credit: PA
Richard Woodcock was unlawfully killed, a coroner concluded. Credit: Family photo

A “heroic” neighbour who saved the life of a two-year-old boy was killed by being repeatedly hit around the head with a kettle-bell, an inquest heard.

Richard Woodcock, 38, was found dead by Thames Valley Police officers after they forced their way into a home in Milton Keynes on 26 June.

The highways officer had gone to the flat next door to help the boy, who was thought to be in danger, Milton Keynes Coroner’s Court was told.

Another man, Kelvin Odichukumma Igweani, 24, was pronounced dead at the scene after a police officer fired four shots.

A post mortem examination found that Mr Woodcock suffered traumatic head injuries, consistent with repeated blows to the head.

Kelvin Igweani was shot by police during the disturbance at Denmead on 26 June. Credit: Hyde News and Pictures

Coroner Tom Osborne concluded that 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”.

The coroner said Mr Woodcock was assaulted and “his life was lost” but “he saved the life of a two-year-old boy”.

'Remembered for his heroism'

Mr Woodcock had reacted after an “altercation” in the neighbouring flat in Denmead in the Two Mile Ash area of Milton Keynes at about 9.40am on 26 June.

A screaming woman had come rushing to his home who was “fearful of her life and was obviously in an agitated state", the court heard.

Police at the scene of the deaths in Denmead, in the Two Mile Ash area of Milton Keynes. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Mr Woodcock went next door to help the child. When the door opened, he was dragged in and seriously assaulted “to the point where he was hit with a 4kg [weight]”, the coroner said.

Mr Woodcock’s death had had a “devastating” effect on his family, who will be “haunted” by what happened and that a life was “needlessly” taken, said Mr Osborne.

The coroner told Mr Woodcock’s family that “he will be remembered for his heroism and his bravery but I think he will be remembered for more than his death”.

The coroner said he hoped that at some point the family, who did not want to speak after the inquest, would 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”.

Police used Taser before shooting

Earlier the court had heard that Mr Woodcock’s 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, who was later identified as Mr Woodcock.

Det Sgt Mike West, of Thames Valley Police, told the court that two firearms officers had responded to the incident and were at the scene.

Kelvin Igweani barricaded himself in a bedroom when police arrived. Credit: Hyde News and Pictures

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 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.

Once officers got into the bedroom, shots were fired. Police and ambulance staff administered 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”.

An inquest into Mr Igweani’s death will be held at a later date.