Man who died after being hit by tram in Sheffield city centre was unlawfully killed, coroner rules

A much-loved man who died after being hit by a tram in Sheffield city centre was unlawfully killed, a coroner has ruled.

Tuesday, 7th January 2020, 11:24 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th January 2020, 5:29 pm

Martin Rigg suffered severe head injuries when he was struck by the tram on West Street on the evening of May 22 last year.

The 37-year-old steelworker, of Plover Court, Sheffield, died in hospital four days later.

On Tuesday, Sheffield coroner’s court heard Mr Rigg was involved in an ‘altercation’ with two men after he had drawn out £10 from a cash machine.

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Martin Rigg died after he was struck by a tram on West Street in Sheffield city centre.

The two men, brothers Dane Whiteley and Luke Whiteley, were arrested on suspicion of murdering Mr Rigg after he died – but they were subsequently released to allow police to carry out further investigations.

However, both men have since died.

The inquest heard CCTV footage showed that Dane Whiteley ‘lunged’ for Mr Rigg’s pocket before he stepped backwards into the path of the oncoming tram – and as he lay dying, the criminal took the £10.

Coroner Robert Forest read a written statement from Detective Inspector Rob Platt, of South Yorkshire Police, who investigated the incident.

Floral tributes were left for Martin Rigg after the tragedy.

In the statement, Det Insp Platt said: “It was an unlawful act.

“From the CCTV, it’s clear Dane was the main perpetrator and Luke was following on.

“Dane will never face prosecution for this matter as he is now deceased.”

The coroner said Dane Whiteley – who had a number of previous convictions – was found hanged in a prison cell on June 29 last year. He was in jail for an unrelated offence.

Det Insp Platt added that the CCTV footage showed Dane Whiteley ‘take something’ from Mr Rigg’s pockets as he lay dying.

“Mr Rigg had withdrawn £10 in cash but this wasn’t found on him after the incident,” he told the inquest.

Recording a conclusion of unlawful killing, the coroner said: “Shortly after 10pm on May 22, 2019, Martin Rigg became involved in an altercation with two other males on West Street, Sheffield, in view of and the same side of the road as Piccolo's restaurant.

“A tram was approaching travelling from the town centre towards the University of Sheffield.

“Mr Rigg was confronted by one of the two males who reached for Mr Rigg’s pocket, him having just drawn £10 from a cash machine.

“Mr Rigg took two steps backwards, the second step bringing him into contact with the approaching tram.

“His head struck the left side of the tram's windscreen causing a severe head injury which led to Mr Rigg’s death at the Northern General Hospital on May 26, 2019.

“The male who had confronted Mr Rigg removed a £10 note from Mr Rigg's pocket after the collision before the arrival of the emergency services.”

Heartfelt tributes were paid to Mr Rigg after he died