TWO youths have been arrested on suspicion of murdering 65-year-old St Helens poet Len Saunders.

The much-loved writer, who was injured after a street attack in the town centre, died on Sunday after eight days in hospital.

The Star reported last week after detectives issued an appeal following an assault on Ward Street on Friday, July 21.

Two youths, aged 15 and 17, who were intially arrested after the incident on suspicion of assault and later released, were arrested again today on suspicion of murder.

Police said Len was walking down the street with a friend when they were approached by two young men.

It is claimed that one of them asked him for a cigarette and when Len told them that they both did not smoke, he was allegedly punched in the head, causing him to fall to the ground and bang his head.

Len was taken to hospital unconscious and transferred to Walton Neurological Centreurological Centre in Liverpool.

Police confirmed that he died on Sunday.

Len was widely respected in the town's arts and cultural scene.

Following the assault, he was described as "such a kind and nice man".

Tributes to Len have poured in since the news of his death.

Town centre manager Gary Maddock said: “Absolutely gutted. Len was a genuinely kind, gentle man who worked tirelessly on cultural activities for the local community. He will be sadly missed." 

A statement from Lucem House Community Cinema, where Len was a volunteer described him as "a kindhearted, warm-spirited person, a gifted poet and raconteur, and very often the first face visitors see when they come to Lucem House. His death has shocked and devastated all of us.”

Friend Paul Jones said to the Star last week: “How can anyone hurt such a kind and nice man, everyone loves him and my sister has been by his side since we found out.

“He is like a stepdad to me, so much so that I have just rushed home from America to be with him because he is more like family.

“Both me and my partner agreed that despite the fact we should have been over there until August that he needed us here and we got the first flight home.

“None of us can sleep at all, I’m so shocked something like this can happen to a man on his way home. It doesn’t even make sense.

“We are stunned and just can’t believe what has happened."

After the attack Detective Inspector Cath Haggerty said: “This was a completely unprovoked assault by two youths on a much older man who was simply out and about with his friend.

"We believe the punch has knocked him to the floor where he has hit his head and suffered a really serious injury.

"I am sure people living in the area will be disgusted by this incident so I would appeal for them to help us bring the offender or offenders to justice.

"It was a wet evening but plenty of people will still have been out walking or driving past at the time."

A Home Office post mortem will take place to establish the cause.
of death.

Anyone with information regarding the case can call 0151 7776064 or leave information anonymously with Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.