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Boy, 10, held over pensioner death
A 10-year-old boy is in police custody after being arrested over the death of an elderly man found lying in the street with a head injury.
The 79-year-old man, named locally as Victor Hepworth, was discovered in Back Hill Top Avenue in the Harehills area of Leeds yesterday evening. West Yorkshire Police were called to the scene just before 6.20pm, having been alerted by the ambulance service.
Paramedics took the pensioner, thought to have lived on the street, to Leeds General Infirmary but he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Neighbours in Harehills, to the north-east of Leeds city centre, have spoken of their shock at Mr Hepworth's death.
Liaqat Ali, manager of the Abubakar supermarket on nearby Roundhay Road, said he was a regular customer and that he had seen him yesterday.
He said: "The old gentleman used to come to the shop all the time, God rest his soul. I've been here for 10 years and he'd been living in the area at least that long. I think he had a son.
"I saw the old man walking around yesterday afternoon, but I didn't speak to him. He was quite well-known in the area.
"Everyone's surprised that this has happened. I'm shocked they've arrested a little kid.
"The police were around here until quite late last night, but we didn't see or hear anything. I only found out what had happened this morning."
Abdul Hannan, whose mother lives in the street, told Sky News the pensioner was always willing to help others.
Mr Hannan said: "He would go out of his way to help the community. He would put the bins out, he would pick litter up from the street, he would tell kids to put litter in the bins. He volunteered in the local church - he did that on a regular basis."
A forensic tent has been put up at the scene in Back Hill Top Avenue, a street of terraced houses, and the area has been cordoned off by police.
The boy arrested in connection with the incident is yet to be formally spoken to by officers, it is understood. Post-mortem examination results are expected later today.
West Yorkshire Police are appealing for information about the man's death. Any witnesses are asked to contact officers from the homicide and major inquiry team on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Krunal Sagathaya, who lives in Hill Top Avenue which is next to Back Hill Top Avenue, told the Yorkshire Evening Post: "He's a really good guy. He used to play with all the children. I feel really sad."
A 26-year-old woman who lives in the same street, who did not want to be named, told the newspaper: " He was such a nice man. I can't believe what has happened. He was like a granddad to a lot of the kids. I don't think anyone would want to hurt him on purpose. He was part of us."
Abul Hasan, who lives next door to Mr Hepworth, a former hospital porter, said he did not see what happened but tried to help his stricken neighbour.
Mr Hasan, 28, said: "The first thing I said was 'Call an ambulance'.
"The bad thing was he was lying down for 15 minutes, the paramedics took so long to come.
"He was on his side in a sleeping position.
"He just went blue, he had gone.
"I checked his pulse, his heart, nothing.
"He just got pushed over - that's the rumour. I didn't see it."
Asked if the dead man had family, Mr Hasan, a father-of-two, said: "All the community is his family. His own relatives, I don't know.
"Everybody knew him, he was so fit, always riding his bike or walking to the park."
Mr Hasan added: "I've known him since I first came living here, aged five.
"He's the most friendly person in the world.
"He played with my children all the time.
"I feel sorry for him, it's tragic. I think he just dropped and hit his head."
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said Mr Hepworth lived at his address as a lodger and was well-known and well-liked in the area.
"He was really good with children, he was a really nice man.
"He used to help mend all the children's bikes."
Locals said the boy held by police was from a local Bangladeshi family.