The family of an off-duty police constable who died after he was attacked on his way home from a night out have paid tribute to a "gorgeous son" who brought "love and laughter" into their lives.
A murder investigation has been launched after 28-year-old Pc Gareth Francis was assaulted in Edgeley, Stockport. Two men have been arrested on suspicion of his murder.
In a statement released through Greater Manchester Police, his family said: "Our gorgeous son brought love and laughter into not only our lives, but he was an amazing brother, boyfriend, grandson and nephew. We cannot imagine how we can face each day knowing that he is gone from our lives."
Police were called to a report of an assault on Castle Street, Edgeley, at around 1.20am on Sunday. Emergency services attended the scene within minutes and discovered Pc Francis with a serious head injury.
The officer was walking home from a night out with friends when he was attacked, police said. They had been dropped off by taxi in Edgeley after a night out in Manchester city centre.
The motive for the attack is still being investigated but police confirmed they were not treating it as a robbery and they do not believe a weapon was used.
His colleagues paid tribute to a "dedicated officer" who had been serving with Greater Manchester Police (GMP) for six years. It is understood Pc Francis, from Stockport, was not married and did not have children but he did have a girlfriend.
Stockport divisional commander Chief Superintendent Chris Sykes said: "First and foremost I would like to pass on my condolences to both Gareth's family and his colleagues in south Manchester. Gareth was a dedicated police officer with six years' experience and he will be greatly missed by his colleagues.
"However, the loss will be even greater for Gareth's family and I would like to reassure them that we have a team of detectives working round-the-clock now to establish exactly what happened this morning."
Paramedics treated Pc Francis at the scene of the attack and he was taken by ambulance to Stepping Hill Hospital, Stockport, where he died shortly afterwards. Anyone with information is asked to call GMP's Major Incident Team on 0161 856 9283 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.