A MURDER hunt was under way earlier this week after a man was killed trying to stop thieves stealing his Land Rover with his dog in it.
Farmer Michael Boffey, aged 61, was found lying in a country road in Withybrook, near Rugby with serious head injuries. Despite the frantic efforts of family, neighbours and paramedics, he died at the scene.
It is believed he may have been run over as he tried to stop the thieves making off in his Land Rover Defender near his farm in Featherbed Lane at 11am on Saturday 20th August.
Mr Boffey, a grandfather of five owned farmland in Withybrook. He leaves a wife Bernice, two sons and a daughter. He had been inspecting a field then went back to the farm to check some grain. He left the keys in the 4x4 with his Border Terrier Cross Jack while he popped into the office.
It is believed that Mr Boffey saw the thieves about to drive the Land Rover away with Jack still on board and that he attempted to block their path and was callously run down.
Police, who have launched a murder hunt, said a silver saloon was also seen around the yard about the time. They are looking for two white men aged 25 to 29 in connection with Mr Boffey’s death.
Mr Boffey’s green Land Rover was later found abandoned in the car park of nearby St John The Baptist Church, in School Lane, Wolvey, with Jack still on board, thankfully unharmed.
A statement issued by the National Farmers Union, on behalf of Mr Boffey’s family, said: "We have lost a loving husband, father and brother.
"The family are very appreciative of all of the offers of help from the local community at what is a difficult time."
Residents said the death of the hard-working farmer had devastated the usually quiet community.
A post mortem at the George Eliot Hospital, in Nuneaton, revealed Mr Boffey died as a result of head injuries.
Border Terrier cross Jack was his constant companion when he set out every morning for the job he loved and local residents said that Mr Boffey would have thought nothing of his own safety in trying to protect Jack.
Derek Guy, co-owner of Mick's local pub The Pheasant, said: "He loved that dog so much. All that his friends and everyone at the farm have been saying all day is that he did it for Jack."
Mr Guy said: "You hear of owners who put themselves at risk by jumping into a river to save their dog. We think that Mick's death is that sort of tragedy. I am sure he would not have bothered so much if it was just losing the Land Rover."
Mick's son William, 40, said yesterday: "Every day he would take faithful friend Jack to work. He was always there, wherever he went, in his tractor, combine, wherever."
William said: "It is beyond words to describe how we will miss him. We just hope these people are caught and punished for what they have done."
A friend said last night that Jack was pining for Mick. "He cannot understand where his master has gone. We are trying to console Jack but he is looking for Mick everywhere. It's heartbreaking."