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Hunt for phone thief after death

Detectives investigating the theft of a mobile phone which led to the victim being hit by a bus and killed while chasing the suspected thief have released an image of a man they want to find.

The photograph was sent to one of David Schofield's friends from his stolen phone via BlackBerry Messenger after his death.

Mr Schofield, 21, a student at Liverpool John Moores University, chased the suspected thief and vaulted roadside metal railings but leapt into the path of a double-decker bus. He suffered serious head injuries in the incident on Oxford Road, Manchester, on September 10 and died the next day in hospital with his mother at his bedside.

It is believed Mr Schofield, of Powell Avenue, Hyde, Greater Manchester, had been texting on his white BlackBerry Curve phone when the thief rode past on a small, possibly BMX, bike and snatched it from his hands before cycling off.

But four days after Mr Schofield's death, one of his friends noticed that his BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) profile had disappeared from her contacts as though it had been deleted. She sent a message to David's phone asking to be added as a friend. The friend request was acknowledged and the person sent a picture and the name "Berry".

The girl, who lives in Wales, then sent a response talking about David's death and the theft of the phone. She was deleted again and her number was blocked from contacting the phone via BBM.

Detective Inspector Andy Naismith, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "The man in this picture may have nothing to do with it but it would only be right for us to talk to him. If it is someone you recognise, please contact us.

"Also, if this is you, please come forward whether you have anything to do with the theft or not - I am sure that if you are innocent and someone is sending your picture out from a stolen phone, you will be keen to clear that up with us."

A 19-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of theft on September 13 and has been bailed to October 5, pending further inquiries.

Anyone with information is asked to call North Manchester CID on 0161 856 3543 or 3540 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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