Updated: Thursday, 27th February 2020 @ 5:52pm

Fresh appeal for witnesses to the single punch which killed off-duty Manchester PC Gareth Francis

Fresh appeal for witnesses to the single punch which killed off-duty Manchester PC Gareth Francis

By Glen Keogh

Witnesses to the tragic death of off-duty police officer Gareth Francis are being asked to come forward following the release of new images of those who may have seen the attack.

Detectives have issued a number of CCTV images of people who were nearby including one of a woman who was sitting in a parked car just a couple of metres away from where the fatal blow was struck.

Gareth, who was just 28, died from a single punch to the head near the Sir Robert Peel pub in Edgeley in the early hours of Sunday January 20.

Detective Inspector Richard Eales, of the Major Incident Team, said: “I must stress that all of the people in the images are innocent and we only want to speak to them as we know they were nearby when this tragic incident occurred.

“We are not interested in anyone’s reasons for not coming forward so far - we simply want to find out what, if anything, they might know about Gareth’s death.”

When emergency services arrived at the scene of the assault on Castle Street, they discovered Gareth with a serious head injury.

He was taken by ambulance to Stepping Hill hospital but could not be saved.

APPEAL: Police are looking to speak to these potential witnesses

The CCTV footage released shows a silver Ford Mondeo that was parked on Castle Street at the time of the incident.

A male passenger was inside the nearby Sir Robert Peel pub at the time, but the woman driver was sitting in the car, which was parked just two or three metres from where the incident happened.

HELP: This Ford Mondeo was at the scene

A man has been charged with PC Francis’ manslaughter.  

Anyone with information can contact either the Major Incident Team on 0161 856 9283, Greater Manchester Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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