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Grandfather dies on 70th birthday after being attacked during van robbery

Mr Ray would have celebrated his 70th birthday today. Credit: Greater Manchester Police

A murder investigation has been launched after a man was killed during an assault as his van was being stolen.

The victim was named by police as James Ray, 69, a father of two and grandfather of four from York.

It happened on the Plantation Industrial Estate in Ashton-under-Lyne, Greater Manchester, just after midday yesterday.

The scene in Tameside this afternoon. Credit: Manchester Evening News.

Emergency services were called to a report of a serious assault and found Mr Ray with serious head injuries.

He was taken to Hope Hospital where he died in the early hours of today - his 70th birthday.

Greater Manchester Police say the offenders left the scene in a car and also drove away in the victim's white transit van.

Map shows the location of the Plantation Industrial Estate in Ashton.

“We have made two arrests but the investigation is continuing and we are still seeking information.

"We believe there is at least one other person outstanding and I would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the van and Fiesta being driven erratically to contact police.

"I would also appeal to anyone who knows who owns the Fiesta or who has been using it in recent days and weeks to call us.

– Detective Superintendent Jon Chadwick, Greater Manchester

A 23-year-old man and a 44-year-old man have been arrested on suspicion of murder and remain in custody for questioning.

  • Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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