THE WIFE of a hero dad who sacrificed his life to save a toddler, held captive by a footballer, has paid tribute to her “generous, cheeky husband.”
Richard Woodcock, 38, was found dead in Odichukumma Kelvin Igweani’s flat in Milton Keynes, Bucks, last Saturday.
Igweani, 24, was shot four times by police last week after a taser they used to stun him failed to floor him.
Mr Woodcock, a 38-year-old council highways officer, is said to have raced to help after hearing screams during a domestic dispute at the first floor property.
The footballer is suspected of killing neighbour Woodcock, whose body was found on the floor of his flat.
Armed cops then stormed the apartment after neighbours reported a “horrible commotion” inside.
Officers found Igweani holding the seriously injured two-year-old boy captive in the bedroom.
Igweani, known as Kelvin, was pronounced dead at the scene and Mr Woodcock died of head injuries.
The toddler remains in a life-threatening condition in hospital, the IOPC said today.
Today Mr Woodcock’s family paid tribute to the brave man, saying: “We have always been so proud of Richard and everything that he has achieved in life.
“We are devastated that Richard has been taken from us in such circumstances but we are also so immensely proud of the sacrifice that he has made to try and save a little boy’s life.
“His actions on Saturday morning were the type of man he was and that is how we would like him remembered.
“A lot of people loved Richard, probably more than he ever realised, and he will be a huge loss to all of his friends, family and work colleagues.”
His wife added: “Richard it has been a blessing to share my life with you, my dearest friend, my biggest love, my soul mate.
“My kind, generous, funny, clever, cheeky husband.
“Thank you for loving me and being the best father to our children.
“I’ll love you and cherish our time together forever.”
Yesterday, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Blaik told a linked inquest into both deaths that officers had been called by neighbours to an “ongoing disturbance” at about 9.40am on Saturday June 26.
He said: “Neighbours reported hearing a female screaming and shouting for help. A female and young child managed to flee the address prior to police arrival.
“Richard Woodcock from the neighbouring property had gone to the address to help save a young boy as it was believed he was still in the property and at risk of significant harm.”
He added: “Having had to force entry, the officers immediately saw a deceased male, who has now been identified as Richard Woodcock, on the floor and were also aware of a distressed young child within the address.”
DCI Blaik told the brief hearing, attended by Richard’s widow and family members: “As entry was gained another male, now known to be Kelvin Igweani, immediately became aggressive towards the officers.
“A Taser was discharged but this was ineffective, and Igweani barricaded himself within the main bedroom.
“A child could be heard crying along with sounds of an ongoing assault. Entry was gained to the bedroom at which point a police firearm was discharged.
“Police officers and ambulance staff gave immediate first aid but Kelvin Igweani was declared deceased at 10.33hrs.”
A post mortem examination performed by Dr Lockyer showed that Mr Woodcock died from traumatic head injuries.
DCI Blaik added the Kelvin Igweani is suspected of his murder, and the serious assault of the young male child within the address.
“It is understood that Kelvin’s mental health had been deteriorating in the weeks preceding this incident,” he said.
The sportsman’s devastated parents were in court today, accompanied by a lawyer, to hear how their son was slain by officers in his home in Milton Keynes, Bucks, on Saturday morning.
Mr Bannister told how police had been called to a “domestic incident” at about 9.40am on June 26 at a block of flats in Denmead, Two Mile Ash, on the outskirts of the town.
He said: “Thames valley Police received a 999 call after reports of a domestic incident. A double armed auto response was deployed to the scene.
“On their way they were informed that another male was injured and a child was at risk.”
He continued: “Officers forced entry and they immediately came across a deceased male. They were confronted by Mr Igweani. A taser was deployed but it was ineffective.
“Mr Igweani moved into another room and closed the door. He was in the room with a young child. Officers believed Mr igweani was harming the child and forced entry.
“One officer fired four shots at him and a taser was also discharged. He was pronounced dead at 10.39.”
Igweani died from gunshot wounds to the chest. His body was formally identified by family.
Thames Valley Police has referred itself to The Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC) and a full investigation is now underway into the fatal shooting.
Senior Coroner for Milton Keynes Mr Tom Osborne told the man’s parents, Nozi Igweani-Gilmartin and James Gilmartin, during the brief 10-minute hearing: “I give my sincere condolences to you and the wider family about the circumstances of Mr Igweani’s death.”
The footballer is reported to have played for lower league teams in Germany, including FC Anker Wismar and Westfalia Wickede in Dortmund.
Westfalia’s sports director Emre Konya told German outlet Ruhr Nachrichten: “He was a really nice guy.
“The news really took me away. When I heard that, I immediately had a lump in my throat.”
‘LUMP IN MY THROAT’
The hearing was adjourned until November 17.
Emergency services were called to the scene and Igweani was given first aid but was pronounced dead at about 9.40am Saturday June 26.
One neighbour told The Times that an officer had left the property carrying a boy with blood on his face. The child was then rushed to hospital.
They said: “My wife was taking the rubbish out and that’s when she heard a scream.
“It was a man screaming and then she saw a police officer bring a young boy out and she could see blood on the boy’s face or head”.
One man living near the apartment said the family had only been living in the property for “a few months”, and described the couple as “quite friendly”.
The families of both men have been informed by officers of the incident.
The young child who was removed from the property was rushed to hospital in a serious condition.
As forensic teams scoured the six-flat block and surrounding gardens and pavements, shocked neighbours told of the horror.
Algars Vilsons told how he was disturbed by “a really weird sound” while sitting on his sofa playing computer games.
He said: “It sounded like someone was beating a dog. It sounded really horrible, it was really weird and I knew something was not right.”
Algars, 28, whose maisonette is at a right angle to the flat, said: “I heard all this commotion, there was shouting and screaming and swearing. It was going on for nearly 30 minutes. I had no idea what it was all about but it was a big row going on.
The bakery production operator told The Sun: “The windows were open and I heard a man keep telling a woman ‘He’s not dead, he’s alive. Trust me, I’m your husband.’
“The woman sounded hysterical and the man kept repeating that ‘he’s not dead.’
“Lots of police turned up and I saw a young child who looked injured being carried out of the flat by an officer.
“Then a woman came out and about half an hour a second child was carried out by a police officer.
“I don’t know the people involved but it was a shocking situation. It’s normally so quiet and peaceful and we’ve never had any trouble here before.”
Assistant Chief Constable Christian Bunt, said at the time: “What has happened this morning can only be described as absolutely tragic and will no doubt have an impact on the community.
“Our thoughts are with those who have been impacted by this incident.
“Our Major Crime Unit are working closely with the IOPC to understand exactly what has happened.
At this stage no one else is being sought in relation to this investigation and we are seeking to support everyone involved.
“Members of the community will see an increased police presence. We would ask anyone who has any concerns or information to please speak to one of our uniformed officers.