Mike Jones stabbing: Silence held for coach

Twenty-five red balloons were released in his memory

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A minute's silence has been held for the Lancashire football coach stabbed to death in New York.

Mike Jones, 25, who was a coach for the New York Red Bulls juniors, was stabbed to death in Manhattan last Sunday.

Former team mates from his village team, Tarleton Corinthians, took part in the silence before their game against Baxters FC at 14:00 BST.

Wearing black armbands, they joined family and friends to release red balloons ahead of the match.

Twenty-five balloons were released, one for each year of his life, which were printed with the number six - his shirt number.

Mr Jones, who was from Tarleton, had played for the club from when he was 17 until he left for New York in 2008.

He was still registered with them and often joined the team when he was back in the UK.

His father, Perry Jones, said: "Another local team, Hesketh Bank, they have made a gesture today as well by playing in Tarleton kit, so it's been fantastic."

Mike Jones Mike Jones played for Tarleton Corinthians FC from the age of 17

Speaking at the Tarleton match, Paul Higham, who used to play football with Mr Jones, said: "Everyone's devastated, everyone knew the guy to be such a nice and friendly popular guy."

Schoolfriend Kirsty Stringfellow said: "It is honestly the worst news that I have ever heard, it has just shocked the whole of Tarleton.

"He was just the greatest guy you could ever meet so that's why everyone has come down here today."

A similar tribute took place before all matches played this weekend in the Westchester Youth Soccer League in north New York, where Mr Jones also coached several clubs.

Mr Jones, who was known as Jonesy, had coached the New York Red Bulls youth team for five years and lived in Westchester in New York for 10 months a year.

New York Police Department (NYPD) said he was found on a street near 25 West 14th Street in the early hours of Sunday with a severed ear and stab wounds to his head and neck.

Orlando Orea, 32, the man suspected of his murder, fled to Mexico on Tuesday.

Police believe he bought a one-way ticket with cash shortly before he flew from New York on Tuesday, about 15 hours before detectives identified him and asked for him to be placed on an FBI no-fly list.

One line of inquiry is that the football coach was mistaken for someone the suspect had an argument with in a nearby bar.

NYPD officers are expected to travel to Mexico in the search for Mr Orea.

Mr Jones was a former pupil of Tarleton High School, studied sports science at Edge Hill University and also played for Hesketh Bank FC.

The New York Red Bulls are one of the leading teams in US Major League Soccer (MLS).

Current players include former English Premier League stars Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill.

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