David Askew had suffered years of abuse from youths
A 64-year-old man with learning difficulties has collapsed and died outside his home in Greater Manchester after years of abuse from youths.
David Askew was found outside his house in Melandra Crescent, Hattersley, at 2140 GMT on Wednesday.
Shortly before he died police were called after a number of youths were seen causing trouble near his home.
Greater Manchester Police said he was not attacked. The force has referred the case to the police watchdog.
His mother Rose Askew said he was a very happy person who "wouldn't hurt a fly".
She said the family had had "a lot of issues over the years with kids causing problems" but that they had regular contact with the local beat officers who had often called on the family.
Mr Askew, who lived with his mother and brother, was known to police and Tameside Council as he had suffered numerous problems with anti-social behaviour for a number of years.
One of Mr Askew's neighbours said: "It's tragic - like bear baiting - tormented to death."
The woman, who did not want to be named, added: "They would come and bait David, he was a harmless soul."
Detectives said a Home Office post-mortem examination was under way.
Ch Supt Zoe Hamilton, from Greater Manchester Police, said: "We are still awaiting the result of the post-mortem so it is important we do not speculate about what caused David's death, but I think it is crucial the community are given the facts as we know them.
"There is absolutely no evidence to suggest David was physically attacked or that his death was the result of any injuries inflicted upon him.
"David had gone outside at some point after these youths starting causing a nuisance and he later collapsed while outside, on his own."
Neighbours Ian and Lynne Barker said it was something they had been expecting to happen for a long time.
They said Mr Askew, who had learning disabilities, had CCTV cameras installed outside his home because the situation had become so bad.
Many of the youths had been served Asbos due to the harassment.
Ch Supt Hamilton said police officers had tried a range of tactics, including covertly placing officers inside the house in readiness for an incident.
But the offenders never struck when police were there.
Ms Barker said: "They knew they could bully cigs out of him. And if they couldn't get the cigs out of him, they'd belt him or pelt him with stones.
"At regular intervals, the house was getting broken windows. And they've got an 89-year-old mother living in there."
She said that the gang of youths had been shouting at him shortly before he collapsed.
"There were these youths at the side of the house bawling and shouting up at the windows," she said.
"Eventually, David came out because he was upset.
"He eventually went over and tried to fix his gate which made him worse, he got more upset.
"The next I heard my husband shout 'there's an ambulance across the road'."
"I assumed it was for his mother, but it wasn't."
Ch Supt Hamilton added: "I think we have done everything we can.
"The level of personal involvement my staff and housing officers have had cannot be stressed enough."
She added that her officers were hugely upset by Mr Askew's death.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said it had voluntarily referred the case to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC).
The IPCC said it would look into the matter because GMP had had prior contact with Mr Askew. A spokesman said it would assess the evidence to see whether a full investigation was needed.
News of Mr Askew's death comes in the wake of a national report which strongly criticised the way the police in England and Wales deal with complaints of anti-social behaviour.
The HM Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) found the way police databases logged information about reports of harassment, vandalism and verbal abuse was "inadequate".
Greater Manchester Police was found to be among the three worst performing forces in the country.
Witnesses or anyone with information about Mr Askew's death have been asked to come forward.