Arrests made in murder probe

Police, CSI and Scientific Support vehicles on Regent Road, Blackpool, by the alley where an injured man was found.
Police, CSI and Scientific Support vehicles on Regent Road, Blackpool, by the alley where an injured man was found.
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THREE men were today being quizzed by detectives on suspicion of murder following the death of a man found in a Blackpool alleyway.

James Whitelaw, 46, was discovered unconscious in the alley behind Regent Road last Friday.

A 21-year-old man and two 22-year-olds were arrested yesterday as a Home Office post-mortem examination revealed he died of a blunt force trauma to the head.

Mr Whitelaw, who lived in the resort, died from his injuries in the early hours of Wednesday in Blackpool Victoria Hospital.

The arrested men, who are all from Blackpool, are being questioned at Blackpool’s Bonny Street police station.

Det Supt Andy Murphy, from Lancashire Police’s major investigation team, said: “Although we have three people under arrest, the investigation is still very much ongoing and I would still appeal for anyone with any information to come forward.”

Mr Whitelaw, who is originally from Glasgow, was found in the alleyway at around 10pm on Friday, November 23.

Police have spent the last seven days desperately appealing for information which could help them piece together Mr Whitelaw’s final movements.

There were confirmed sightings of him with a black eye in the Breck Road area of Blackpool on Wednesday, November 21.

But it remains unclear how he came to be found in the Regent Road alleyway.

Residents have spoken of their shock after seeing the area swarming with police.

Luke Kent, 33, of Regent Road, said: “The street was crawling with cops. I came out of my front door and the next thing I know they’re all over the place, it’s not nice.”

One resident, who has also lived on the street for 24 years but did not want to be named, said: “It’s not the first time something like this has happened. It’s not unique and it goes on all over the place but I just think it’s sad really.

“You don’t really have a community feel any more.

“It used to be all guesthouses which have been transformed into flats, and since then it’s been nothing but trouble.”

Det Supt Murphy added: “If anyone does have any information they think could be useful to the investigation and they have not yet spoken to police, I would ask them to get in touch by calling 101.”