Shropshire

Telford attack death man 'beaten with cricket bat', partner says

Derek Whyteside next to his partner Image copyright West Mercia Police/Family Handout
Image caption Mr Whyteside's family said he could 'always see the best in people' and was a 'fab dad'

A "protective" stepfather was beaten around the head with a cricket bat in a brutal assault which fractured his skull, his partner has said.

Derek Whyteside, 42, of Dawley, Telford, died in hospital after being found unconscious in Withywood Drive, Malinslee, on Monday.

His partner Michelle said he was attacked after bikes belonging to her children were stolen.

A 16-year-old boy has appeared before magistrates charged with murder.

Posting on Facebook on Tuesday, prior to Mr Whyteside's death, Michelle said: "Derek is now basically in an induced coma with a fractured skull and bleeding to the brain.

Image copyright SWNS
Image caption Mr Whyteside's partner said he was attacked after bikes belonging to her children were stolen

"Someone thought it would be okay to wrap a cricket bat round his head."

Prior to the attack, she said, two bikes were taken from outside her house.

In a further post, after Mr Whyteside's death was announced, she said: "My whole world has just come crashing around me".

Image caption Derek Whyteside died in hospital after being found unconscious in Withywood Drive, Malinslee

In a family statement released this week, relatives paid tribute to "loveable" Mr Whyteside, describing him as a "fab dad to his partner's children".

The 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was remanded in custody at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court on Thursday and is due to appear at Stafford Crown Court on Monday.

Two men arrested in connection with the incident have been released on police bail. A woman and two teenage boys have been released while inquiries continue.

A fundraising page set up by Telford Neighbourhood Watch group in aid of Mr Whyteside's family has amassed more than £800.

Image copyright SWNS
Image caption A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named, was remanded in custody at Kidderminster Magistrates' Court

A spokeswoman for the group said: "The whole community is devastated and asking how can something like this happen in Telford.

"I cannot express how horrible it must be for the family.

"They depended on Derek to provide for them and I know it's going to hit them quite hard."

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