Thief killed pensioner with his own car

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A pensioner was killed with his own car when a teenage thief ran him down at such speed that he was carried on the back of the car for almost 40 yards. Robert Inchliffe, 77, of Newark Road, Hartlepool, died in hospital yesterday from internal injuries after the incident late on Saturday. His family were at his bedside.

Mr Inchliffe, a retired miner, and his wife Ethel, 72, had spent the evening at Rifthouse community centre and returned about 10.30pm. He left the keys in the ignition while he opened the front door. When he came out to park the car, he saw a youth in the driving seat. Mr Inchliffe remonstrated with him and his wife came outside.

Hartlepool police said the teenager reversed into Mr Inchliffe so fast that he was carried spreadeagled on the back of the car for almost 40 yards before being dumped in the road. Another boy then jumped into the Ford Fiesta, which was found abandoned inanother part of Hartlepool four hours later.

Geoff Walton, manager of Owlton Community Centre, where the couple used to dance, said: "I was working late on Saturday night when suddenly someone was banging at the window. "I looked out and saw Mrs Inchliffe. She was in a terrible state. She was shocked and screaming `someone please help me, help me, help me'. I looked outside and saw Robert lying on the road.

"Everyone is so shocked by what has happened. They were a quiet and loving couple but were very active for their age."

Detective Chief Inspector Ray Mallon, leading the murder investigation, said police would leave "no stone unturned" in their search for the two boys.