Thieves killed a man by running him over in his own car after he confronted them outside his home in Manchester.
Michael Samwell, 35, suffered fatal injuries when he was run over as the thieves sped off in his Audi S3 at around 3am on Sunday, police said.
Det Supt Jon Chadwick from Greater Manchester police’s serious crime division said: “My thoughts go out to Michael’s wife and his family. I cannot comprehend what they must be going through.
“We have now launched a murder investigation and are searching for those responsible.
“This is the murder of an innocent man who has merely sought to protect his property from criminals.”
Detectives said Samwell and his wife were woken by a loud bang downstairs in their home on Cranbourne Road in Chorlton-cum-Hardy in south Manchester.
Samwell went down to see what was happening and shortly afterwards shouting was heard from the rear of the property, police said.
A police spokesman said Samwell was then found in the parking area at the rear of the house with serious injuries. He was taken to hospital but died a short time later.
His black Audi S3 was later found abandoned three miles away in Whitby Avenue, Ladybarn with extensive damage.
Chadwick said: “I appeal for anyone with any knowledge of what happened to come forward. I would particularly like to hear from people who were anywhere near Cranbourne Road at around 3am last night or have seen Michael’s car being driven erratically or abandoned shortly afterwards.
“If you know who has done this you must inform the police of what you know.
“We will not stop until we have found the person responsible for this dreadful crime.”
A team of white-suited forensic officers could be seen entering the red-brick terrace property behind a police cordon.
Neighbours in the affluent suburb reacted with shock when they learned of the murder. “It’s not the sort of thing that happens round here. It’s just astonishing. Very concerned, it’s really tragic,” said Dan Debowitz, 48, who lives on an adjacent street.
Another resident said: “It’s shocking. It’s a quiet area round here - this is very unusual.”