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Surgeon was collecting litter when he was fatally attacked
FASTIDIOUS villager Anthony Owen was collecting litter, minutes before he received a fatal blow, an inquest in Warrington heard yesterday.
He was driving his white Honda Civic along Hale Road, yards from his home, stopping every so often to collect rubbish.
A teenage cyclist riding home with friends, at around 9.45pm on Sunday, March 11, last year, said he saw the car coming towards him.
His 14-year-old friend, who was sitting on the handlebars, braked to avoid a collision.
The 17-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: “The man had one leg in and one leg out of the car.
“He was shouting at me. I said: ‘You should have gone round me’.
“He was making gestures with his arm and waving it at me.”
He said the man got out of his car and came towards him.
The student car mechanic said: “He made a lunge at me. I believed I was under attack.
“I struck out at the man instinctively to stop him assaulting me. As soon as I struck him, he fell to the right of the car.
“I heard a bang and rode off.
“I only exercised force to protect myself.”
Mr Owen, a 68-year-old cancer surgeon, was clutching an empty soft drink can in his hand when he was found by a passing motorist.
A plastic bag of rubbish was on the front passenger seat of his car.
Daniel Williams was driving to collect his dad, an air traffic controller at Liverpool Airport, when he spotted a man’s body lying in the road.
He told the inquest: “His head was underneath the trunk of the car.”
Initially, he suspected the man was drunk or in a diabetic coma, but when he saw blood, he realised he had been seriously injured and rang an ambulance.
Mr Owen died six days later in Walton Hospital from severe brain injury.
Mr Owen’s gardener and close friend, Alan Southwood, said: “He was obsessive about litter. He kept the area in front of his house and his neighbours along Hale Road tidy.
“He’d pick up a bucket and go out and pick up litter. “ Mr Owen’s brother, Eoghan, said: “We’ve always been brought up by our parents to keep the place tidy.
“My brother had very high standards. He wanted things to be right. They had to be perfect.”
Cheshire coroner Nicholas Rheinberg adjourned the inquest to consider the evidence before delivering his verdict.