Man died after being stabbed in the heart during debt row on Yorkshire street, inquest heard

A man suffered catastrophic blood loss and died after he was stabbed in the heart in West Yorkshire, an inquest heard.

Sean Waterhouse was convicted of murder and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 19 years at Leeds Crown Court in September 2020.

Sean Waterhouse murdered Richard Astin after he took him to a cash point in New Hey Road, Huddersfield, and ordered him to withdraw money to repay a debt, on March 26 in 2019.

The 42-year-old father phoned 999 for an ambulance at 2.15am and when paramedics found him at 2.40am he was not breathing and had no pulse, an inquest at Bradford Coroner’s Court heard.

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They attempted to resuscitate Mr Astin and took him to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, but he was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived.

Sean Waterhouse murdered Richard Astin in March 2019

The family asked whether the ambulance crew’s response had been delayed, as they found Mr Astin almost 20 minutes after they arrived on the scene.

But the inquest heard that paramedics and police officers had to search for the victim after they arrived, because he had phoned 999 and said he was outside The Highgate pub, but then walked to a nearby property where he collapsed and lost consciousness.

Forensic pathologist Dr Kirsten Hope said paramedics would not have been able to save Mr Astin even if they had found him sooner, because he had been stabbed in the “main pumping chamber” of the heart.

“In my opinion, bearing in mind the location of where the stab wound was, attending paramedics would not have been able to resuscitate Richard,” she said.

The toxicology report stated that traces of cannabis, cocaine and heroin were found in Mr Astin’s system, but Dr Hope said they had not contributed to his death.

Mr Astin’s mother Julie Brook criticised West Yorkshire Police, because her brother was informed of the death and she then found out second hand.

She claimed she was ringing the police trying to find out what had happened to her son later that morning.

“They only came to my house because they had some crazy woman on the phone ringing up West Yorkshire Police talking about her son being murdered with a knife and they thought there’s been an incident where this crazy woman has stabbed her son,” she said.

“They put two and two together when they were on route to my house.”

Detective Inspector Matthew Holdsworth said the West Yorkshire Police system said Mr Astin lived at his uncle’s house and they visited the property to make sure there was no suspect there and no one had been injured,

Mr Astin’s uncle was told what had happened during that visit, before the force was able to appoint a family liaison officer to inform the family and offer them support.

Detective Inspector Holdsworth said: “We're talking now about 4am in the morning when this information has been passed and unfortunately we hadn’t had a chance to get those wheels in motion prior to the family becoming aware.

“I can only imagine that it's caused significant distress and I apologise.”

Assistant coroner Peter Merchant ruled that Mr Astin had been unlawfully killed.

Waterhouse, 40, of Buckden Court in Huddersfield, was convicted of murder and sentenced to life with a minimum term of 19 years at Leeds Crown Court in September 2020.