Dead man's friends call for police action

FRIENDS of an Aldeburgh man who collapsed and died yards from his lodgings days after allegedly being attacked have urged Suffolk police to launch a criminal investigation.

Richard Smith

FRIENDS of an Aldeburgh man who collapsed and died yards from his lodgings days after allegedly being attacked have urged Suffolk police to launch a criminal investigation.

They said they were shocked to discover that Michael Fox, 48, had multiple bruises on his body after an altercation on St Patrick's Day.

Mr Fox, an Irishman who had worked at Felixstowe port, had apparently been taunted by two men in Aldeburgh who called him "Paddy".

After an incident, which is being investigated by police, he started complaining about not feeling well and he collapsed five days later after shopping at the Co-op in Saxmundham Road, Aldeburgh.

He fell to the ground in Franklin Road, close to a bungalow where he was staying, and was taken by ambulance to Ipswich Hospital on Saturday.

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Mr Fox , also known as Michael Finlay Fox, was later transferred to Addenbrooke's Hospital, Cambridge, and he died there on Monday.

Mr Fox, a jobless labourer , was a regular drinker at the Railway pub, close to the Co-op and he visited the pub on March 17 for an early evening drink.

Drinkers in the pub said Mr Fox had then taken a taxi at 8pm to his lodgings in Franklin Road.

"He was an easy going guy who used to like having a joke," they recalled.

Mr Fox was staying with Doreen Owen - he had known her family for 15 years - and she said he had decided to go out again to use the public telephone by the Co-op to call his mother in Ireland before returning about 9pm.

The next day Mrs Owen discovered he had extensive bruising on his groin and back.

Mrs Owen said: "He would not admit that he had been attacked because he did not like to be thought of as a wimp. He then admitted he had been attacked and he said a couple of blokes had called him a paddy.

"The rest of the week he complained about having headaches, he had a nosebleed and his eyes were glazed. His eyes did not seem right.

"He was not right after that Monday night and he did not drink as much as he usually did."

On March 22 he left at lunchtime to shop at the Co-op and collapsed on his way back.

Ipswich Hospital called Mrs Owen after staff discovered his bruises and Mrs Owen said the incident on March 17 was then reported to the police.

Anne-Marie Breach, a spokeswoman for Suffolk Constabulary, said: "Police are investigating how he came to have sustained bruising on the evening of March 17 and what happened when he collapsed and hit the ground on Saturday 22.

"Further tests will be carried out to determine what factors caused Mr Fox's death and what the exact circum-stances were about how he sustained his injuries.

"To this end it is important that we trace anyone who saw Mr Fox on the evening of Monday 17 between 6pm and 9.30pm, anyone who may have seen him collapse on Saturday 22 and anyone who may have spoken to him in the days in between."

She added: "He was a jolly person, he was always cracking jokes and everyone is upset that he is dead."

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