Man punched by shoplifter died 13 days later

Police have released this CCTV still of a man they want to speak to over the assault outside Seddon News in Vincent Street
Police have released this CCTV still of a man they want to speak to over the assault outside Seddon News in Vincent Street

A have-a-go hero who was punched in the face after confronting a suspected shoplifter has died.

The 54-year-old from St Helens suffered a serious facial injury after chasing a man in his early 20s down Parade Street in the town centre.

He was treated for his injuries but was found dead at his home days after being discharged from hospital.

Police do not believe his death is linked to the assault but his official cause of death has not yet been confirmed.

However, his death has prompted a renewed focus by detectives to bring the shoplifter whose actions sparked the clash to justice.

Police are refusing to name the dead man at the request of his family but say he had visited Seddon News at around 8.15pm on October 27 when the drama unfolded.

He is believed to have gone to the Vincent Street shop to buy his elderly mother a drink when he noticed that a member of staff was “agitated and upset”.

Realising that an alleged theft had just taken place, he followed the suspect onto nearby Parade Street to confront him – only to be punched in the face.

He was taken to hospital for treatment, but was later discharged. He died at home just 13 days later.

His death has since been referred to the coroner, pending forensic reports, and is currently being treated as “unexplained”.

It is not clear at this stage whether a formal inquest will be launched into the circumstances surrounding his death.

However, a police spokesman said detectives were “confident” that the assault was not linked to his subsequent death - despite a delay in the release of the results of a post mortem.

A 20-year-old St Helens man handed himself in at a police station last Thursday (November 13) after detectives released CCTV images of a man they want to question over the assault.

He was subsequently arrested on suspicion of assault and theft, questioned and released on police bail pending further inquiries.

The incident has parallels with the death of Parr mum, Maureen Marsh, who died after being pushed to her knees by a shoplifter as she tried to stop him stealing razor blades, a court has heard.

Mrs Marsh, a 57-year-old mother-of-three, suffered an aneurysm which ruptured within moments of the confrontation with a thief at the Morrisons supermarket where she worked in St Helens.

The manslaughter trial of a shoplifter accused of assaulting her collapsed last year.

Anyone with information about the assault or theft offences can contact police on 0151 777 6049 or Crimestoppers, in confidence, on 0800 555 111.