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Last Updated: Monday, 26 September 2005, 16:43 GMT 17:43 UK
Fresh charges probe after death
Ben Arnold
Ben Arnold died after spending 15 months in a coma
An inquiry is under way to establish if two men jailed for attacking a man outside a Manchester nightclub can now be tried for murder after his death.

Ben Arnold, 20, was left brain damaged following an attack in 2004 and he died in September after being in a coma.

Lee Joy and Wesley McCaffery, from Salford, were sentenced to 10 years each in January after admitting grievous bodily harm with intent.

Police said they had launched an inquiry into Mr Arnold's death.

Lee Joy and  Wesley McCaffery
Lee Joy and Wesley McCaffery were each jailed for 10 years

In order for any fresh charges to be brought the police and the pathologist will have to prove that Mr Arnold died as a result of the coma, which in itself was a result of the attack.

Previously if a victim of a criminal assault died more than a year and a day after he or she was assaulted, the offender could not be prosecuted for murder.

But the so-called year and a day rule was abolished under the Law Reform Act 1996.

The Attorney General may have to grant permission for any fresh prosecution because Joy and McCaffery have already been convicted of attacking Mr Arnold.

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