Manchester

Man killed as thieves take car from outside his house

Mike Samwell Image copyright GMP
Image caption Mike Samwell and his wife Jess were woken by noises in their house in the middle of the night

A former Royal Navy officer has been killed by thieves who stole his car from outside his house.

Mike Samwell, 35, died after confronting intruders who broke into his home in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Greater Manchester, at about 03:00 BST.

Shouting was heard outside the property and he was found badly injured in a parking area behind his home. He died in hospital a short time later.

Police believe he was run over by his car, a black Audi S3, which was taken.

A murder inquiry has been launched and officers are appealing for witnesses to the incident, which happened on Cranbourne Road.

Mr Samwell suffered multiple injuries in the "tragic" incident, police said, although they are not yet sure how many times he was struck by his vehicle.

Image caption Det Supt Jon Chadwick said this "could have happened to anyone"

Det Supt Jon Chadwick from Greater Manchester Police said: "My thoughts go out to Michael's wife and his family. I cannot comprehend what they must be going through.

"This is the murder of an innocent man who has merely sought to protect his property from criminals."

He appealed to the criminal community to "search their consciences" and provide information about the crime, which had "crossed the line".

He said this "could have happened to anyone".

Image caption The car was found abandoned a short time after it was taken

According to the website LinkedIn, Mr Samwell trained as a naval officer at Britannia Royal Naval College in Devon and was in the senior service for about 10 years before leaving in 2014.

It also said the University of Leeds graduate worked in several roles, including on board a nuclear attack submarine as a weapons officer.

Since leaving the Royal Navy he had worked as a programme manager for engineering firm Atkins in Warrington, Cheshire.

An Atkins spokesman said: "This is a tragic event and our thoughts go out to Mike's family, friends and colleagues. We will support the family in any way we can."

Det Supt Chadwick said the Audi was driven away from the scene "erratically" and it hit a kerb before the driver and occupants abandoned it a short time later on Whitby Avenue, Ladybarn, with extensive damage.

He urged anyone who was in Cranbourne Road at the time of the killing or saw the car being driven away to come forward.

"We will not stop until we have found the person responsible for this dreadful crime," he said.

A neighbour of Mr Samwell spoke of his shock at the events in the "really quiet" and "friendly" street.

The man, who did not want to be named, told the BBC there had been a persistent problem with car thieves in the area.

"I know Chorlton is a bit of a crime hotspot; because it is a nice, affluent area people do come in from other areas of Manchester, unfortunately, and target us."

Image caption Flowers have been left outside the family home
Image copyright Jobo89
Image caption The victim went outside to investigate after hearing noises

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