UK: Diesel raid leaves one woman dead and her son injured

Northern Echo -- AN URGENT appeal for witnesses has been launched by police investigating a diesel raid on a County Durham farm that left one woman dead and her son badly hurt.

The incident occurred shortly after 8.30pm last night when William Frank Dove and his wife Rosemary returned to their home at East House Farm, Bishop Middleham, near Ferryhill, following a trip to an agricultural show in Scotland.

Police said that they spotted an unknown vehicle and saw a man trying to steal diesel from a pump at the side of the farm.

While Mr Dove went to confront the intruder Mrs Dove went inside the house to phone police and alert relatives who live nearby.

Mrs Dove, 68, complained of feeling unwell immediately after making the 999 call and collapsed on the floor of the farm. She was later pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

In the meantime Mrs Dove's husband, who was joined by his son James and other relatives, chased the intruder's vehicle - a silver Mitsubishi-style pick-up truck across the fields in their own vehicles.

A spokesman for Durham police said: "At one stage the farmer and his family cornered the pick-up in a field.

"James got out of his vehicle to approach the intruder pick-up, which was sporting a distinctive amber lighting bar on the roof.

"When the pick-up turned to break out of the cordon it clipped James, who is in his mid 40s, and knocked him into a ditch."

He was later taken by ambulance to North Tees General Hospital with a double hip fracture and a minor head wound. His injuries are not life threatening.

Det Chief Insp Paul Harker, who is leading the police investigation, today appealed to the public for help in pin-pointing the whereabouts of the pick-up truck and identifying those involved.