Manchester: Thief steals flowers from memorial to gay teenager

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Flowers from a memorial in Manchester’s Canal Street dedicated to a teenager who lost his life in a road collision have been stolen.

CCTV footage published by Manchester Evening News shows the moment at around 5.50am last Saturday when a man walked up to an array of flowers left for Jack Taran Essex on Canal Street and proceeded to remove three of the largest bouquets.

Eighteen-year-old Jack died on 29 January, a day after being in collision with a lorry on Portland Street where he sustained serious head injuries.

Jack’s partner Tony Cooper, who runs the nearby Via Fossa bar, said the theft has left him and Jack’s family “devastated”.

“I was having a coffee on the balcony early Saturday morning when I looked out and noticed some of the larger bouquets were missing,” he said.

“I went out and looked and then checked the CCTV.

“The thief walks along and takes his time and knows exactly what he is doing.

“Flowers have been gathering there since the accident and I think he has taken the three largest bouquets.

“To be honest both myself and Jack’s family are devastated, all his friends are devastated too, that someone could do this.”

Inspector Phil Spurgeon from Greater Manchester Police said: “I was alerted while off duty on Saturday afternoon and was so shocked I prompted an investigative response from home.

“Having spent time on Friday at the informal memorial to Jack, thinking about the tragedy, I can say with confidence that the thief knew exactly what the items were for.

“With Jack’s family and friends struggling to come to terms with his sudden death, and planning for his funeral this week, the theft of items from the memorial will only serve to compound their grief.

“We will do everything we can do to bring the thief to justice and urge anyone with information to contact us.”

Anyone with information about the theft should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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