Manchester Metropolitan University student Luke O’Connor, 19, died in hospital after he was attacked in Wilmslow Road, in the student area of Fallowfield, at about 2am on Wednesday. A 19-year-old man was detained in the area on Friday evening and is being questioned. Greater Manchester Police believe Mr O’Connor did not know his attacker.
ITV News has released footage which shows two people pushing each other outside a takeaway in Wilmslow Road moments before the attack.
Supt Helen Critchley, of City of Manchester South district, said: “The arrest of a 19-year-old suspect on Friday night is an important step in our investigation which is moving at pace. Since the tragic killing of Luke our investigation team has made significant progress as we do all we can to get justice for Luke’s family who we are continuing to support at this devastating time.
“There are still a number of inquiries being conducted to establish what happened in the early hours of Wednesday, but what is clear is that this was a senseless and needless loss of a promising young life that has shocked our student community and we are doing all we can to support them too.”
Mr O’Connor’s family said the second year business management student loved music and football and supported Liverpool, adding he was “truly one of a kind, whose presence would light up any room”. In a joint statement on Thursday, the family, from Bedford, said: “Our hearts yearn for the loss of Luke; we are truly devastated by this tragedy.
“Luke was loved by so many people, and he knew how much he was loved in return. He loved the freedom of student living and studying and was loving life in Manchester.
“Luke was the youngest of three boys in our family and was a gentle giant with big hopes and dreams for the future.
“His biggest dream was to travel the world, but now Luke will never be able to fulfil that dream. He had a profound impact on so many people throughout his life. He was truly one of a kind, who’s presence would light up any room.
"Luke’s friends also adored him, as he adored them. They often called Luke a ‘Legend’ and ‘the life and soul’ of everything he did. Everyone who met him, truly loved him.
"Our lively, bubbly, beautiful boy has been taken from us and our family are now left with a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. Justice needs to be served as we have lost our beautiful young Luke, who was robbed of life. We will continue to honour his name for as long as we are all here, and his legacy with go on forever.”
Extra police patrols will be in the Fallowfield area in the coming days as investigations are underway. Manchester Metropolitan University is offering support to staff and students who have been affected by the incident.