A policeman murdered in Liverpool town centre may have been attacked because of his job, according to a senior officer in the Merseyside force.
Neil Doyle, 36, and two colleagues were attacked after leaving a christmas party in the early hours of the morning. The three officers were set upon by thugs in Colquitt Street, near the Aloha club after a night out at The Peacock Bar, The Times reports.
A 28 year old man handed himself into the police following the attack and was arrested on suspicion of murder. Police say he was being interviewed by detectives.
A statement from Merseyside Police said the other two off-duty male police officers who were with PC Doyle suffered facial injuries during the assault but have now been discharged from hospital. One suffered a fractured cheekbone, the other a less serious facial injury.
Merseyside Chief Constable Sir Jon Murphy told reporters. “This is a very sad day for Merseyside Police and I now have to brief you about the loss of one of my officers, Constable Neil Doyle.”
“This briefing will be all that I have to say, the investigation is in its early stages and detectives are still trying to ascertain the full circumstances of events. Consequently neither the Commissioner, who will speak for a moment, or myself will be answering questions.”
“Following intensive emergency treatment at the scene, Constable Doyle was taken to The Royal Liverpool Hospital where he sadly died a short while later.”
Sir Jon also said that one of the injured officers had reported the attackers referred to them as police, leading investigators to believe that the attack was based on their jobs within the force.
Peter Singleton, chairman of Merseyside Police Federation, said that officers were devastated by his death.
“His family, friends and colleagues are absolutely devastated. I spoke to the colleagues who were out with him and they were in absolute bits.
“He exemplified the British bobby. He was a solid, good, hard-working, honest copper. Losing a colleague like Neil in such a tragic way is absolutely devastating.”
PC Doyle had ten years experience within the police force and had married his wife in July and was due to go on his honeymoon in the New year.
He had previously received a commendation for his actions when arresting three men after a violent robber.