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City student in death mystery

LIVERPOOL'S student population was left in shock last night after the mysterious death of a city undergraduate.

LIVERPOOL'S student population was left in shock last night after the mysterious death of a city undergraduate.

Police were trying to piece together the last hours of John Leaning, who was found dead in bed after suffering a fractured skull.

Detectives were trying to establish whether the 20-year-old student was attacked in Liverpool city centre or if he died after an accident.

He had been on an end of term night out with other Liverpool John Moores University students last Saturday-night. He became separated from his friends after doormen turned him away from Modo Bar in Concert Square because he looked too young.

John waited outside alone for an hour, before making his way back to his student flat in Atlantic Point, Leeds Street. On his way home he suffered a blow to the head, which later killed him.

Police received reports that a man fitting John's description was seen staggering outside the halls in the early hours of Sunday morning. His body was discovered by a friend later that morning.

Detectives at first thought the first-year student of French, who came from Scunthorpe, died of natural causes as he slept, but a post mortem showed he had suffered a serious head injury in the hours before his death.

Last night, John's friends spoke of his larger than life personality.

Paul Twigger, 21, a politics and European studies student, said: "Everyone knew him by his nickname, Finch, and he was one of my best friends.

"It was a running joke that he looked a lot younger than his age and I saw him after he was turned away from Modo.

"We sat outside on the steps of Modo and chatted for 10 minutes. He wasn't bothered about not getting in and he told me he was going to find some other mates.

"That was the last time I saw him and it was only today that I found out what happened.

"He was not the type of person who would have got into a fight."

A JMU spokesman said: "Staff and students have been shocked and saddened at this news. John was an outgoing and talented student."

Acting Detective Inspector Tim Keelan appealed for help in finding out whether John suffered the fatal injury in an assault but said he was " keeping an open mind" as to whether he may have tripped over and banged his head...SUPL:


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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