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Suspected burglar stabbed to death

A suspected burglar has been stabbed to death and the householder arrested on suspicion of murder after an attempted break-in at his house.

The balaclava-clad intruder and three others are believed to have tried to smash through the back door of the terrace house on Ethel Avenue, Salford, just before midnight last night.

The dead man, aged 26, is understood to have been carried away from the property by the gang as they fled.

Police were called and he was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Today neighbours said the property was occupied by a man who lives at the house with his son, Neil.

Police said two men, aged 59 and 27, and a woman, aged 21, were being held on suspicion of murder.

The incident comes after Prime Minister David Cameron promised stronger support for people protecting their property from burglars.

Police were first alerted by a 999 call from a woman at the house just before midnight to reports of a burglary.

Next door neighbour, Sylvia Sharp-Cadigan, said: "I went to bed at 10 o'clock and about 12 heard all this commotion, all voices.

"There was four police cars outside.

"I came down and said to the police, 'What's going on?'

"He said, 'There's been a break-in'.

"I said, 'Is anybody hurt?' and he said, 'I can't say any more'."

The house, part of a cul-de-sac, is next to an open area of scrubland close to a council recycling centre in the Pendlebury area of Salford.

Two days ago David Cameron vowed to bring in stronger measures to protect homeowners defending their property.

"We will put beyond doubt that homeowners and small shopkeepers who use reasonable force to defend themselves or their properties will not be prosecuted," the Prime Minister said.

A large area around the house is now cordoned off by police tape as detectives continue their investigation.

Chief Superintendent Kevin Mulligan, Salford Divisional Commander for Greater Manchester Police, said today: "Clearly this is a shocking incident and a man has lost his life.

"However, I can reassure the community that we will thoroughly investigate what happened last night and do not believe that members of the public are at risk.

"I would urge anyone who knows something to speak to officers from the major incident team and anyone else who has other concerns can speak to my officers, who will be providing an increased presence to provide the community with reassurance."

A spokesman for the force said three people arrested were being held on suspicion of attempted murder.

Mr Mulligan said all three were at the address at the time of the incident but it was not yet clear if they were residents.

He added that the man suffered "at least one" stab wound.

He added: "We have a significant police presence in the area and have launched an intense investigation. We do not believe there is any ongoing threat to the public."

Asked whether the case raised issues over how far residents can go to protect themselves, he said: "We are investigating this matter within the legal framework as it stands and I don't want to speculate on political matters at this stage.

"If somebody was confronted by a burglar tonight, I would tell them to ring the police and use reasonable force to protect themselves."

Mr Mulligan appealed for four men, seen in the area wearing balaclavas at around the time of the incident, to contact police.