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Boy, 17, admits punching cancer surgeon, who died six days later
A TEENAGE boy admitted punching a cancer surgeon in the face, causing him to fall to the ground, sustaining serious head injuries, an inquest in Warrington heard today.
Anthony Owen, aged 68, was found lying on the road, bleeding beside his car, yards from his home in Hale Road, Hale Village, at around 10pm, on Sunday, March 11, last year.
Mr Owen, a gifted surgeon specialising in breast cancer and keyhole surgery, died six days later in Walton Hospital.
A 17-year-old student car mechanic, who cannot be named for legal reasons said he had hit him, but claimed it was self defence.
The teenager, who was a 16-year-old Widnes schoolboy at the time, said: ”I hit him on the left side of his cheek. I just struck out.
“He then fell to the left side of his car. I heard a bang.”
The boy said he was riding a bike with no lights, with a 14-year-old friend sitting on the handlebars, when they spotted a car.
As they stopped, the driver started remonstrating with them. The young boy ran off.
The teenager said: “The man was shouting at me for not having a licence. He was waving his arms about and shouting.
“He lunged at me. Both his arms were outstretched. He came right into my face. I thought he was going to grab me or hit me.
“I swung my right hand up and hit his left cheek.
“I only exercised force to protect myself.”
The teenager rode off and met up with his friend and his friend’s 17-year-old brother, who had been riding ahead.
The three boys gave themselves into the police 10 days later.
DC Steven Hopkins, of the major investigation team, said criminal proceedings had been dropped. The student mechanic had been found not guilty of manslaughter in August, after the crown prosecution service offered no evidence.
Consultant pathologist Christopher Johnson, who carried out a post mortem, said Mr Owen’s death had been caused by a blunt force head injury.
He told the inquest: “There was evidence of the landing of a relatively heavy punch and a heavy fall to the back of his head.”
Mr Owen had suffered a fractured skull, fractured left cheek and bruising to his lip.
He was found injured by passing motorist, Daniel Williams.
He said: “I saw a car stopped with the lights on and the engine running.
“I saw a body lying at the back of the car. He was consious. He was trying to get to his feet. As soon as he moved, I could see a pool of blood underneath his head.
“I tried to keep him calm and restrain him until the paramedics arrived.”
Mr Owen’s brother, Eoghan, said: “I never saw him as an aggressive man. I looked on him as a father figure.”
His gardener and close friend, Alan Southwood, said: “He was very religious and righteous.
“He was very good natured and friendly. “
Cheshire Coroner Nicholas Rheinberg finished hearing evidence late yesterday and said he would be recording a narrative verdict.