Policeman held over spilt pint murder

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The Independent Online

A policeman was arrested and questioned on suspicion of murder after a drinker was killed in a pub fight that is believed to have begun over a spilt pint.

The unnamed 26-year-old officer was off-duty when Christopher Shackleton, 42, was involved in the brawl at the Freshfield pub in Merseyside on Saturday night.

A force spokesman said: "Merseyside Police can confirm that the 26-year-old man arrested in connection with the incident at the Freshfield pub on Saturday July 24 is a serving Merseyside Police officer.

"The officer was off duty at the time of the incident.

"The incident has been voluntarily referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission."

Detectives want to speak to all the witnesses present in the busy pub when the row began between the victim "and a number of men".

Mr Shackleton, who lived in the area, was taken to hospital by ambulance and treated for several days.

The policeman was originally arrested on suspicion of assault but was rearrested in custody yesterday morning on suspicion of murder after Mr Shackleton died.

A post-mortem examination showed he died from a stroke, the cause of which is still being investigated, police said.

Gareth Richards, pub manager, issued a statement through Greene King Pub Company, saying: "We are shocked. This type of thing is unheard-of here.

"We do not tolerate trouble in our pub, where providing a safe environment for our customers is our main priority.

"We are currently doing everything we can to help the police with their inquiries."

The officer was bailed last night pending further inquiries.