Murder probe launched

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Murder detectives are investigating the death of a reveller who was attacked on a night out.

Anthony Roberts, 44, suffered severe head injuries in the assault and had been on a life support machine before he passed away yesterday morning.

Friends and family took to the internet to share their grief at the loss of “the best brother-in-law in the world.”

Friend Philip Roberts posted on his Facebook page: “Never felt so sick and lost but that is nothing compared to what the family have lost - uncle, brother son.

“My thoughts are with the family at this sad day.

Thank you to each and one of you for everything in very difficult times.

“Thank you to Tony’s friends who prayed and wished him to pull through.

“I thank you from bottom of my heart.

He added: “You will never be forgotten, totally shocked devastated at losing my best mate.

“You will never be forgotten - not today, tomorrow or any other day.

“You will always be with me in my heart and mind.

“You fought and fought for your life.

“All I am left with is memories, special moments, laughs.

“We had tears roll from my face - miss you the absolute world Tony.

“Thank you for being the best friend ever.”

Sister-in-law Chris Warburton, from Rochdale, posted on Twitter: “RIP To Tony Roberts, the best brother-in-law in the world.”

Mr Roberts lived on his own in central Blackpool, but is thought to be from the Rochdale area originally.

The attack took place at around 3am on Wednesday March 26 when he had been walking home with a friend from a night out at Walkabout, on Queen Street, in the town.

As the pair walked past a group of three men and two women, they noticed the gang had started to follow them.

Police are studying CCTV from the incident but there exact sequence of events from there are still be defined.

Mr Roberts was left unconscious on the floor at the junction of Queen Street and Abingdon Street while passers by ran to help him, calling an ambulance and performing first aid.

He was transferred by ambulance to The Walton Centre, in Liverpool - a specialist head trauma unit.

However, he died yesterday at around 10am after a fortnight in a coma.

A 26-year-old man is in police custody charged with grievous bodily harm (GBH) with intent, although the incident is now being treated as a murder.

Det Insp Gareth Willis, from Blackpool CID, has appealed for witnesses to come forward.

He said: “It is now a murder investigation.

“The victim was assaulted on Queen Street, in Blackpool.

“The prognosis at that early stage wasn’t that positive and unfortunately he has died.

“The person charged with GBH remains in prison.

“In the coming days and weeks there is a decision to be made over whether section 18 causing grievous bodily harm with intent is the appropriate charge.

“It’s quite clear Queen Street was fairly well populated at that time of the morning.

“There will have been people there who passed it off as the kind of thing that happens in Blackpool at that time of night, but I would say anyone who was in the area at that time should come forward as they could hold crucial information.”

Mr Roberts’ body is to be brought back to Blackpool, where a post-mortem will be held tomorrow. (12).

Anyone with information should call the police on 101.