Police have issued an image of a teenager they want to speak to after a “promising” boxer was fatally stabbed in the heart outside a pub.
The 18-year-old boy, named locally as Luke Bellfield, was fatally knifed in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex on Friday evening.
Police said the teenager was assaulted in an alleyway near The Peterboat pub in High Street, Old Leigh, and taken to hospital by two people at around 6pm on Friday 26 February.
He sadly died a short time later.
They added a post mortem examination found he died as a result of a single stab wound to the heart.
The boxer had represented the famous Bethnal Green-based boxing club Repton at tournaments with coach Gary Cooke confirming the news on social media.
Promising middle-weight boxer John Hedges, who is fighting at Wembley Arena in April to be broadcast on Sky, said he had fought with Luke at a tri-nations tournament in 2016.
Mr Hedges, nicknamed “The Gentleman”, shared a picture of the pair as schoolboys writing on Facebook: “Rip Luke Bellfield lovely boy and a great fighter.”
Alfie Jackson, 18, released a heartfelt tribute to his best friend who he had planned to go to a music festival in Norwich with once lockdown ended.
He wrote on Instagram: “This is so hard to think my best friend gone, all this s*** doesn’t seem real.
“To think I was only on the phone to him a couple of hours before his death and now he’s gone. Only 18, it is always the real ones that leave so soon but I hope you're in a better place right now.
“I hope we meet again one day. Rest in peace to a legend, you're the real champion.”
A fundraising page launched by a family friend has reached over £1,500.
Brooklyn Bisson, who started the page, said: “A very good boxer and had his whole life ahead of him and it all got taken away from him just like that.
“Spread the awareness of knife crime. Our hearts go out to Luke’s family and friends at this sad time.
“Fly high angel you’ll be forever missed and never forgotten.”
Essex Police said they urgently need to speak to local teenager Alfie Pollard, 17, who has links to Leigh-on-Sea and Southend.
Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Truss, who is leading the murder investigation, said: “We urgently need to speak to Alfie Pollard in connection with our investigation.
“I would strongly urge him, or anyone who knows of his whereabouts, to contact police immediately.
“Anybody who is found to be assisting those involved in the violent incident that led to a man’s death on Friday night will be subject of a thorough investigation and could find themselves prosecuted for assisting an offender.”
Anyone who knows of Pollard’s whereabouts is asked to contact 999 or submit information via https://mipp.police.uk/operation/4201020121P63-PO1
Information can also be given to independent charity Crimestoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 555 111 or https://crimestoppers-uk.org
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