A 25-year-old British man who was working as a football coach in America has been stabbed to death in New York. Mike Jones, originally of Tarleton, Lancashire, was attacked in the early hours of Sunday, a spokesman for the New York Police Department said.
He was found with a severed ear and stab wounds to his torso and neck, police said. Mr Jones, who coached New York Red Bulls' juniors, was declared dead on arrival at Bellevue Hospital.
The police force spokesman said officers answering an emergency call had found Mr Jones on the street near 25 West 14th Street. He confirmed a "homicide investigation" was under way and CCTV footage of a suspect was released to the media.
John Parkinson, treasurer of Tarleton Corinthians, a team Mr Jones used to play for, said everyone knew him as "Jonesy".
He said: "We are trying to come to terms with it. He was a genuine lad, no trouble. He was not a lad who would look for trouble or would be up to no good...it's a big shock to us. We are stunned."
Mr Parkinson said his wife Betty, who is the chairman of the club, had been to see his parents and that they were "in a state of shock". He said Mr Jones had been with the senior team from the age of 17 until he went to the US on a scholarship. "He came home around November time and played football with us. So he kept in touch with everybody. He was just one of the lads," said Mr Parkinson.
The New York Times reported that Mr Jones coached children aged from seven to 13 for a New York Red Bulls youth training programme.
A spokesman for the club said: "We are aware of this tragedy and on behalf of the entire organisation want to send our most heartfelt condolences to Michael's family, friends and loved ones. He was a tremendous individual, a fantastic coach who loved soccer and a terrific friend for many of us.
"This is truly a sad day for our soccer community and we will do our utmost to help authorities in their investigation of this case. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael's family at this time."