Referee’s death “not suspicious”, police say

Referee Chris Leatherbarrow
Referee Chris Leatherbarrow

THE sudden death of Super League referee Chris Leatherbarrow is not being treated as suspicious, police have confirmed.

In a statement, Merseyside Police confirmed that they were called to an address in St Helens on Sunday following the sudden death of a man.

The statement continued: “Emergency services were called at around 4.10 pm and found the body of a 27-year-old man.

“He was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics. At this stage, police are not treating this death as suspicious.

“A post-mortem examination will be carried out and a file will be prepared for the coroner in due course.”

Tributes poured in for the dad-of-one after news of his death spread on social media.

RFL Chief Executive Nigel Wood, said: “We are all truly shocked and saddened by the news of Chris Leatherbarrow’s untimely death.

“This is a dreadful tragedy and our thoughts and prayers are with Chris’ family, friends and colleagues at this terrible time.”

Saints star Alex Walmsley tweeted: “Life is too precious. Cherish every moment and be grateful of every second you get to spend with the people you love. RIP Chris”

Fellow referee Richard Silverwood tweeted: “Truly gutted. I’ll never forget the week we had on our Pre Season camp to Lanzarote. Gone too soon. RIP Chris x”

He leaves a four-year-old daughter Daisy and partner Nicola.

St Helens RL issued a statement which read: “Saints are saddened and shocked to hear of the passing away of Chris Leatherbarrow.

“Chris was well known to the club having refereed our matches and been an integral part of the match officials team. He is also from St Helens.

“Our sincerest and heartfelt sympathies are sent to all Chris’ family and friends.

“Once again, this is time for the Rugby League family to come together and not only pay tribute but be strong for everyone. We have no doubt it will.”