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Tributes to ‘funny and handsome’ young footballer stabbed to death in Wolverhampton park

 (West Midlands Police)
(West Midlands Police)

Detectives still hunting the killer of a 17-year-old boy stabbed to death in a park have released a photo of the tragic teenager as tributes flooded in for the boy.

Harleigh Hepworth, from Rugeley, was attacked in West Park in Wolverhampton and was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics at about 4.30pm on Thursday.

A bystander tried to save him by performing CPR before West Midlands Ambulance Service teams took over. No arrests have been made so far.

The picture of Harleigh released by West Midlands Police shows him in a Hednesford Town football top having won a cup in the local Walsall Junior Youth Football League.

The scene in West Park, Wolverhampton, as police continue to investigate the murder of 17-year-old Harleigh Hepworth (Matthew Cooper/PA) (PA Wire)
The scene in West Park, Wolverhampton, as police continue to investigate the murder of 17-year-old Harleigh Hepworth (Matthew Cooper/PA) (PA Wire)

Family friend Billy Brown said: “Yet again another life lost to knife crime and this needs to stop. Seriously, we can all get ourselves into situations and later on regret it in life.

“I’m absolutely shocked and horrified by the incident that’s happened to a close family friend. He was loved so much by everyone; a funny, cracking, handsome young lad that was taken far too soon from us.”

He added: “It would be a loving, great idea to have a memorial or some kind of stand made for our lad Harleigh Hepworth just to remember who he was and remember this was his home town too.”

One family friend revealed his mother Lucy had passed away when Harleigh was a toddler.

Harleigh Hepworth was fatally stabbed in Wolverhampton’s West Park on Thursday (West Midlands Police)
Harleigh Hepworth was fatally stabbed in Wolverhampton’s West Park on Thursday (West Midlands Police)

She told The Independent: “I only knew him when he was a toddler as I was good friends with his mum, but she sadly passed away and then I moved away.”

Another posted on Facebook: “I have no words – 17 is no age. I have some fond memories of him and my daughter when they were babies: dinner dates and growing up together, the school plays and birthday parties.

“To hear this has blown my mind. Thinking of all the kids that knew him and that will be affected by this news. It is time to come together! RIP Harleigh – at least you are reunited with your mum.”

Chief Superintendent Richard Fisher of Wolverhampton Police provided an update on Friday.

He said: “Another young life has tragically been taken by knife crime and our focus is bringing those responsible to justice. We are keeping Harleigh’s family updated with this fast-moving investigation and our thoughts are with them at this devastating time.

“We would like to thank the people of Wolverhampton, and particularly those in this area of West Park, who have been coming forward with information following this awful incident.

“And we would ask anyone who’s yet to speak to us but believes they can help, to contact us.”