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EDITIONS
 Monday, 13 January, 2003, 11:54 GMT
Father died after sword attack
Robert Dunne
Mr Dunne was attacked after a confrontation with youths
Police say a father has died after being attacked with a samurai sword when he got into an argument with a group of youths.

Robert Dunne, 31, bled to death after the "vicious and brutal assault" as he passed a Middlesbrough post office at about 1500 GMT on Saturday.

The scaffolder, father of nine-month-old son Liam, was stabbed once in the back.

Mr Dunne, died later in Middlesbrough General Hospital.

Middlesbrough murder scene
Floral tributes at the scene of Mr Dunne's murder

Cleveland Police say 50 officers have been drafted in to find Mr Dunne's killer.

The murder weapon has not yet been found, but the officer leading the investigation confirmed it was bladed and had inflicted "horrific injuries".

Acting Detective Superintendent Gordon Lang said the popular local man died despite the efforts of passers-by and paramedics.

Mr Dunne was stabbed in West Lane, Middlesbrough, a short distance from his home in Connaught Road, which he shared with girlfriend Julie.

CCTV footage

Mr Laing said Mr Dunne bled to death as a result of the single wound.

The attack, in a busy part of the town with shops, pubs and a sub-post office, happened after he got involved in a row.

Mr Laing said: "We know from some witnesses that Mr Dunne had been talking to a group of young people when an argument broke out, and we need to speak to them."

Police have appealed to the youngsters and any other witnesses to come forward.

Detectives have begun a study of CCTV footage from local council cameras and shops.

Mr Lang added: "This was a vicious brutal assault on a man well liked in his neighbourhood and we need the help of people living in that area to find out who was responsible for his death."

Floral tributes have been placed outside the post office where Mr Dunne was attacked.

'Regular bloke

One read: "To someone who will be sadly missed" while another simply said: "Rest In Peace Dunny".

June Hunt, who took Mr Dunne's girlfriend Julie to hospital on Saturday after the incident, said: "Julie is devastated. They had been together for about three years.

"He was a funny man, a comedian and everyone loved him. "He would stand up for himself, he liked the truth and was a regular bloke.

"A friend went round to the house and told Julie what had happened.

"I had to take her to hospital and she was in a terrible state.

"I cannot believe what has happened, people are just in shock."

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  Acting Detective Superintendent Gordon Lang
"This was a vicious and brutal assault on Robert"

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19 Nov 02 | England
09 Oct 02 | England
07 Oct 02 | England
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