Sheffield boxer Scott Westgarth died after sustaining a number of powerful ‘blows to the head’ in ‘gruelling’ ten-round fight, inquest hears.

A Sheffield boxer died after sustaining a number of powerful ‘blows to the head’ in a ‘gruelling’ ten-round fight, an inquest heard.

By Steve Jones
Monday, 20th January 2020, 5:19 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st January 2020, 4:08 pm

Despite winning the fight, Scott Westgarth, who lived in Penistone, was described as being "in a daze" after the bout in which he suffered a knock down towards the end.

The 31-year-old was helped to the changing room, where he told trainers his head was "killing him", before paramedics were called and he was rushed to hospital.

A CT scan revealed a huge bleed on the brain and Scott died of his injuries on February 25, 2018, one day after the fight.

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Scott Westgarth

An inquest into his death on Monday (January 20) at Doncaster Coroner's Court heard emotional evidence from Scott's mum, dad and partner of 14 years, Natalie Kerr.

The court heard how the bout, held at Doncaster Dome against opponent Dec Spelman, was Scott's tenth professional fight and arguably the biggest and most important of his career.

Victory over Spelman meant he was one win away from becoming the English light heavyweight champion.

Ms Kerr said: "This was a really big fight and a really big opportunity for him."

Scott's dad John Westgarth, who watched the fight, told the inquest his son had knocked Spelman down before being put to the canvas himself in the tenth round.

At the conclusion of the fight the light heavyweight boxer returned to his corner and was checked by a doctor, who asked two questions and shone a torch into his eyes, it was heard.

"I told him to go and get his hand raised," Mr Westgarth said.

But when Scott returned to his feet he was "unsteady" and attempted to walk in the wrong direction, Mr Westgarth added.

He said: "I know my son and that wasn't him."

Ms Kerr, who went into the ring to congratulate her partner, said: "Normally after a fight he's bouncing around the ring but he appeared really, really dazed.

"He just slumped over me, he didn't say anything."

Ms Kerr told the court she remembered seeing Scott being helped out of the ring and to the back of the venue after conducting a post-fight interview.

She added: "It was like he couldn't stand."

Mr Westgarth, a former professional boxer himself, told the court he went to see his son in the dressing room and found him lying conscious on the floor.

Moments later he rolled on to his side and vomited before telling his dad that his head was "f***ing killing him", the court heard.

Mr Westgarth requested a doctor overseeing the event to attend and paramedics were called to the venue a short time later.

Ms Kerr told the court when she went into the changing room Scott was sitting against a wall with an oxygen mask on, but that the situation didn't appear to be overly serious.

She said: "I felt it was quite a lax environment, there was no urgency at all. I was quite reassured thinking he must be alright."

Despite showing signs of a brain injury, Scott was taken to Doncaster Royal Infirmary (DRI), where there is no specialist neurological unit.

Mr Westgrath said his son's last words to him before leaving the venue were: 'I'm not getting on there like a t**t', when asked to move himself onto a stretcher.

"That was Scott, he was funny", Mr Westgarth added.

Following a scan at DRI which revealed the nature of his injury, the boxer – by that point unconscious – was transferred to Royal Hallamshire Hospital in Sheffield.

But Scott's condition "never improved" and he was pronounced dead on February 25, 2018, Home Office pathologist Dr Lumb told the court.

The professor, who carried out the post mortem, said the boxer died from complications arising from an acute subdural haemorrhage, which is a blood clot on the brain.

He added: "I'm satisfied that the cause of death was a head injury."

Scott's mum, Rebecca Marshall, provided an emotional statement to the coroner which was read out by a court official.

She said: "Words cannot describe how heartbroken I am and what a hole he has left. He was a lovely child and always looked after his mum.

"I want people to know how proud I am to be his mum."

The five-day inquest continues.