Florist held over fatal stabbing of robber

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The Independent Online

A Manchester florist has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a man trying to rob his shop was stabbed to death.

Police were called to the premises of Cecil Coley, 72, in Old Trafford, Greater Manchester, late on Tuesday after reports that a man had been injured. Officers arrived to discover that a number of men had attempted to rob the shop.

A 30-year-old man with serious injuries was taken to hospital but died shortly after. Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts said the Mr Coley was in hospital.

"The male who was arrested did have injuries," he said. "They are not life-threatening and he will be spoken to in due course." A gun was found at the scene and is being forensically examined. Police said two people were in the shop "legitimately" when it was raided.

Residents said the owner had run the shop for 40 years. A neighbour, Mavis Ferguson, 71, saw the injured man lying in the street. "A lady from the community centre was trying to revive him but I knew he was dead," she said. "I could see the blood."

Shauna Smith, 17, said Mr Coley was a "very nice and lovely man". Resident Manmohan Singh, 57, said the owner had only recently changed the shop into a florist's and that it had previously been a bric-a-brac store. He said Mr Coley was known by the nickname "Pops", adding: "I feel distraught. He is a very nice man. He has never been a violent sort of person."