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Drowning in Gay Village 'may be linked to other attacks'

Canal Street in Manchester's Gay Village scene of recent attacks Photo:

Police are investigating the death of a man whose body was found in a canal in Manchester city centre.

Shortly before 1.50pm on Saturday 9 June 2012, police were called to Canal Street following reports a body of a man had been found.

A post-mortem examination has now taken place and the cause of death is confirmed as drowning. The Home Office pathologist who examined the man also reported that he had no injuries.

At this time the family of the man, who is believed to be 40-years-old, is still to be spoken to. Therefore no formal identification has taken place and consequently his name is not yet being released.

It is believed the man intended to go to the Gay Village area of Manchester to have a drink on Monday 4 June 2012 and was last seen that evening in the Blackfriars area.

Police are also investigating several incidents in the same area in the early hours of the Tuesday morning, and specifically are appealing for information following two incidents near to where the man's body was found.

However, there is no evidence at this time to suggest that the man was attacked or that his death involved other people.

The other incidents are as follows:

About 1.10am on Tuesday 5 June 2012, a 54-year-old man came across a fight taking place at the canal towpath near to Piccadilly.

He saw a number of people attacking others and shouted to the offenders and told them to stop, at which point they then set about him. They hit him and pushed him into the canal.

After getting out of the canal, he was then attacked further by the same group and left unconscious.

Later that morning, a 41-year-old man was robbed of his mobile phone on the same canal towpath, at about 2.35am. After he reported this incident to the police, three men were arrested nearby on suspicion of robbery.

The trio, aged 14, 21, and 19-years-old, have been bailed until 27 June 2012, pending further inquiries.

Detectives are linking the assault and the robbery but cannot at this time link the death of the 40-year-old man to these incidents.

Chief Superintendent Russ Jackson said: "We are currently investigating two incidents where members of the public have been attacked by offenders on or near the part of the canal which runs through Manchester city centre.

"On one of these occasions a man was pushed into the water, and the victim of this attack was clearly in serious danger'

"I want to make it clear that while we are linking these assaults, we cannot make a formal connection with the death of the 40-year-old man whose body was found a few days later. I stress that the post-mortem examination revealed he had no injuries and that he died of drowning.

"However, given where this man's body was found and the events as described by the two victims we simply cannot rule out the possibility of a link and our enquiries continue to clarify this.

"Officers will be making contact with and offering support to this man's family.

"I understand there are people who use this area who may, for whatever private reasons, be reluctant to contact the police but I want to reassure them that any information they give will be treated in confidence'

''The assault and robbery are both very serious offences and we are very eager to catch those responsible. Most importantly we want to know the last movements of this 40-year-old man so that we can fully understand how he came into the water and provide some answers for his family who are understandably very upset'

''To anyone who saw these incidents or any other incident please be assured all we are concerned about is what you saw, rather than why you were there.

''If you were in this area during the Monday night and Tuesday morning of the Bank Holiday Jubilee weekend and you have information that can help us, please get in touch.

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