Man, 65, dies after unprovoked assault in Ward Street, St Helens

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A pensioner who was assaulted in a sudden and random assault in St Helens town centre has died.

And police have today named the victim as 65-year-old Len Saunders, from St Helens.

He died yesterday (Sunday) after being assaulted last Friday (July 21).

A Home Office post-mortem will take place to establish the cause of death.

Following the assault, police issued an appeal for witnesses.

Mr Saunders was attacked as he walked along Ward Street with a friend just before 7pm.

They were approached by two teenagers, who asked for a cigarette.

When Mr Saunders and his friend said they did not smoke, he was punched in the head and fell to the ground.

The two offenders then ran off.

Mr Saunders was rushed to hospital suffering from a serious head injury.

Detectives launched an investigation into the assault and are appealing for anyone who was in the area around Ward Street shortly before or afterwards the attack to come forward if they saw two young men aged in their late teens or early twenties acting suspiciously.

The first offender is described as white, slim, and around 5ft 8ins tall. He was wearing a dark-coloured baseball cap and an all grey tracksuit.

The second man was also aged in his late teens or early twenties and around 5ft 8ins tall but of medium build. He was wearing a blue coat with a hood, dark-coloured jogging bottoms and had long dark hair.

Det Insp Cath Haggerty said: “This was a completely unprovoked assault by two youths on a much older man who was simply out and about with his friend. When they told the offenders that they didn’t smoke so couldn’t offer them a cigarette the 65-year-old gentleman was punched in the face.

“We believe the punch has knocked him to the floor where he has hit his head and suffered a really serious injury. I’m sure people living in the area will be disgusted by this incident so I would appeal for them to help us bring the offender or offenders to justice.

“It was a wet evening but plenty of people will still have been out walking or driving past at the time.

“If you remember seeing two young men acting suspiciously before the attack at 6.50pm or running away afterwards then please call us on 0151 777 6064 or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Police arrested two teenagers aged 15 and 17. It is believed the pair have since been released.