Man beaten to death in water row

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The Independent Online

A retired lorry driver died after being kicked and beaten during a row about water restrictions, police in Australia said yesterday.

Ken Proctor, 66, was watering his lawn in the Sydney suburb of Sylvania on Wednesday night when he was allegedly attacked by 36-year-old Todd Munter.

Mr Munter, who lived near Mr Proctor, is said to have walked past and made a remark about wasting water. Mr Proctor then turned his hose on Mr Munter, prompting a fight, a police spokesman said. An off-duty officer intervened and arrested Mr Munter but Mr Proctor died in hospital after having a heart attack.

"He was hit in the head and then went into massive cardiac arrest," said an ambulance spokesman.

Mr Munter, who is charged with murder, appeared in court yesterday but did not enter a plea. He seemed close to tears as he was remanded in custody.

Council officials confirmed that Mr Proctor had been complying with Sydney's strict drought restrictions, which state that watering with hand-held hoses is allowed only on Wednesdays and Sundays before 10am and after 4pm.

Australia is suffering its sixth year of severe drought and all major cities have imposed restrictions on household water consumption.