Police reopen investigation into death of Manchester man who was assaulted 10 years ago

Ashley Thomas was seriously assaulted in an unprovoked attack whilst walking home from a party in 2011.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 23rd February 2022

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) has reopened an investigation into the death of a man who died as a result of an assault over 10 years ago.

On Christmas Eve all the way back in 2011, 32-year-old Ashley McGurk – who was known locally as Ashley Thomas, and was from the Harpurhey area – was seriously assaulted in an unprovoked attack whilst walking home from a party near to Harpurhey shopping precinct, and was sadly left in a coma for several months.

As a result of the attack, Ashley was left severely brain damaged and was living in a care home in Rochdale, before he eventually passed away on 8 January 2021.

After an extensive report from the pathologist has confirmed that the assault 10 years ago proved to be the cause of Ashley’s devastating death, GMP has confirmed it has reopened the matter as a murder investigation

People are now being urged to come forward with any information.


“Visiting my own son every day in his care facilities was absolutely heartbreaking to see and cope with for 10 long years and to know we still don’t have justice so many years on is so devastating,” Ashley’s mother said in a tribute.

“Both Ashley and his family deserve justice, which is why I would ask anyone to come forward with information.


“We want this nightmare to end once and for all.”

GMP say that three arrests were made at the time of the incident, and two males were released with no further action taken, with one male being charged – but the case ended up being dismissed by the court.

Ashley Thomas was seriously assaulted in an unprovoked attack whilst walking home from a party in 2011 / Credit: GMP

Speaking on the reopening of the investigation, Detective Sergeant Paddy Connell – from the City of Manchester Division CID – said: “This was a devastating incident for Ashley’s family and we believe there will be people in the local area with information about the reported assault at the time that may be able to help Ashley’s family get the justice they deserve.


“Ashley suffered such horrific injuries that he spent the last 10 years of his life in care facilities and was regularly visited by his mother who has suffered unimaginable emotional pain since the assault and has visited him every day over the last 10 years.”

Sergeant Connell also urged anyone with any information, “no matter how small it may seem”, to contact police.

Someone out there will know something,” he said.

People can contact GMP on 0161 856 4409 quoting crime reference number CRI/06A1/0001614/21, or get in touch anonymously through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

Featured Image – GMP