'We are absolutely heartbroken': Murder investigation launched after Walsall man, 22, dies in Royal Preston Hospital following attack in Blackpool

A murder investigation was launched after a 22-year-old man died in hospital following an attack in Blackpool.

Police were called to reports a brawl had broken out in Central Drive at around 5.30pm on Saturday (June 25).

A man – later identified as 22-year-old Ryan David Harvey from Walsall – was found with a “serious head injury” when officers attended.

He was taken to the Royal Preston Hospital for treatment but sadly never recovered and was pronounced dead on Tuesday morning (June 28).

Paying tribute to Ryan, his family said: “A family has lost their little boy due to an incident that happened on Saturday in Blackpool.

“Our little Ryan was a bubbly lad who would do anything for anyone.

“Ryan was a lifelong Walsall FC fan who lived and breathed football.

“We are absolutely heartbroken and would appreciate some privacy at this time to grieve for our loss.”

A murder investigation was launched following the death of Ryan David Harvey who suffered a serious head injury during an assault in Blackpool (Credit: Lancashire Police)

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A post mortem examination concluded the cause of Ryan’s death was blunt head trauma.

A 32-year-old man from Fleetwood was arrested on suspicion of murder on Wednesday afternoon (June 29).

Paul Atherton, 36, from Knowsley Crescent, Thornton, was arrested at the scene on Saturday.

He has since been charged with Section 18 Wounding, Section 47 Wounding, two Section 39 Assaults and possession of an offensive weapon in a public place.

Atherton appeared before Blackpool magistrates on Monday (June 27) and was remanded into custody.

Detectives previously released CCTV images of two people they wanted to identify as part of their investigation.

Police later confirmed the woman who was pictured was no longer considered a suspect.

Temp Det Chief Insp Rach Higson, of the Force Major Investigation Team, said: “This altercation has led to a young man losing his life and my thoughts are very much with Ryan’s family and friends at this time.

“We have a dedicated team of officers assigned to this investigation and we are determined to establish exactly what occurred and identify everybody involved.

“Although we have now made two arrests, our enquiries are very much ongoing.”

Anyone with information or CCTV footage which may help police with their enquiries can call 101 or email [email protected], quoting 1127 of June 25.

Independent charity Crimestoppers can also be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.