A tragic dad who was found dead at his home has been praised posthumously by the stranger he saved from being beaten up by a gang.
Liam Clark was being kicked and punched by a group of men on Queen Street, Blackpool, when Aran Waite, then 21, threw himself in front of the attackers in a bid to protect Mr Clark, in March last year.
Mr Waite, a father-of-one, was found dead at his Manchester Road home on Sunday, aged just 23.
He leaves behind three siblings, a devoted girlfriend and three-year-old daughter.
He was praised by a judge for his efforts to save the stranger, as told in The Gazette last month.
Now Mr Clark has paid him a moving tribute.
The 25-year-old said: “It could have been a lot worse for me if he hadn’t jumped in.
“He put his life in danger for me. It’s such a shame he’s died. He was a hero.”
Mr Clark, who went to Collegiate High School, had been out with a friend on March 19, 2013, when he was set upon by the group.
As he was repeatedly kicked and punched, taking blows to the head and chest which left him with lasting scars and broken ribs, Mr Waite, a perfect stranger, attempted to stop the thugs saying, “you’re going to kill him”.
When they did not stop, he threw himself on top of Mr Clark, using his legs to shield his face, and in the process sustaining a broken nose.
Mr Clark, of Church Street, Blackpool, added: “He helped the attackers as well, they would have kept going and going, but he stopped it.
“He did them a favour and me. He was obviously a decent lad.”
Liam Clark has said the early morning attack had a big impact on him, and he still bears scars on his head. Christian Brook, 23, of Park Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and common assault. He was given 14 months in prison, suspended for two years. Carl Fishwick, 23, formerly of Hornsey Avenue, Lytham, now training in the Army, admitted affray. The pair were ordered to do 300 and 240 hours’ unpaid work respectively.