Charges dropped over surgeon death

Prosecutors have dropped charges against a teenager accused of killing a respected retired surgeon.

Anthony Owen, 68, was found by two members of the public lying next to his white Honda Civic near his home in Hale Village, Cheshire, last March. Mr Owen, a cancer specialist, had suffered serious head injuries and died in hospital six days later.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said it had dropped manslaughter charges brought against a 17-year-old boy who was at the scene at the time of the incident.

The service said a new pathologist report had provided "supporting evidence" for the boy's case that he was acting in self defence. Two other youths, aged 14 and 17 at the time, who were also at the scene were earlier released without charge due to insufficient evidence, the CPS said.

Rachael Barber, a Senior Crown Prosecutor, said: "After very careful consideration of all the evidence in this case, including new evidence which has recently been presented, I have decided not to continue the case against a 17-year-old youth in connection with the death of Anthony Owen.

"The youth was originally charged with manslaughter on the basis that there was a reasonable suspicion he had committed the offence and there were grounds for believing that the continuing investigation would provide further evidence to support the prosecution.

"Since then new evidence has been presented, including the final pathologist's report which indicates that the injuries to the victim were consistent with the victim suffering one blow to the face. The pathologist's report provides supporting evidence for the defendant's version of events - that he was acting in self defence."

Ms Barber said the youth had volunteered himself to police and has no previous convictions.

"We therefore concluded there is no realistic prospect of conviction in this case and have formally offered no evidence against the defendant," she added.

"We understand that this decision is difficult for Mr Owen's family, friends and members of the community to understand. We have met with Mr Owen's family to explain our decision to them in person."