The death of an ex-Royal Navy officer who confronted intruders breaking into his home has been described by police as “more than criminal”.
Michael Samwell, 35, is believed to have been run over by his own car in Chorlton-cum-Hardy, Greater Manchester, on Sunday.
Shouting was heard in the street at about 03:00 BST and he was found badly injured. He later died in hospital.
Detectives appealed to local criminals to help in the hunt for the killer.
Mr Samwell was asleep with his wife Jessica in their Cranbourne Road home when the intruders struck, Greater Manchester Police said.
The former submarine officer went downstairs to investigate noises and ended up in a parking area at the rear of the house.
Police believe he was run over at least once as he tried to prevent the theft of his black Audi S3 sports coupe.
Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick said: “This is the murder of an innocent man who has merely sought to protect his property from criminals.
“We will not stop until we have found the person responsible for this dreadful crime.
“It is one of those things where you would expect the criminal fraternity to help us out. It’s more than criminal.”
Mr Chadwick said the killing had “crossed the line” and appealed to anyone with information to “search their consciences”.
He said Mrs Samwell had been left “devastated” by her husband’s death and was being comforted by her family.
The death is being treated as murder and no arrests have yet been made.
Mr Samwell’s Audi was found badly damaged about three miles from his house in Whitby Avenue, Ladybarn.