A murder probe was continuing in Sheffield today after the tragic death of a family man who spent a year in hospital following an attack outside a city centre bar.
Richard Ismail, aged 45, known to friends as Moody, was assaulted outside Lloyds No 1 bar on Division Street in the early hours of Remembrance Sunday last November.
He spent a year in hospital, including months in a coma, and is believed to have been being treated most recently at the Stocksbridge Brain Injury Rehabilitation Centre on Haywood Lane in Deepcar.
His death, just over 12 months on from the assault, means detectives are now treating the case as murder.
Two men - aged 19 and 24 - were arrested last year and released on bail.
A post mortem examination was being carried out yesterday.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “A 45-year-old man who was critically injured following an altercation in Sheffield over a year ago has died in hospital.
“The man has been in hospital since the incident on Sunday, November 11, 2012, outside Lloyds bar in Division Street. He sadly passed away on Sunday.
“A murder investigation has now been launched by South Yorkshire Police.”
Friends said Mr Ismail was a married man and a dad, who worked as a computer numerically controlled machinist and in his free time supported Leeds United.
One tribute left to him online, on the Owls Talk website for Sheffield Wednesday fans, said: “I worked with Moody for three years - he trained me in the job I am still doing, CNC machining, and I couldn’t have asked for a better bloke to show me the ropes.
“I was 17 when I first met him and had so many laughs along the way.
“Such a nice bloke, would do anything to help me out, and I’m sure was the same to many others.
“When the news broke last year that he had been attacked, me and another workmate went up to the hospital and were in pieces seeing the state he was left in.
“I continued to visit him, right up until he was moved to Stocksbridge, where he received intense treatment to try to reknit his brain and memory.
“I heard the news that Moody had passed away this morning, and can honestly say it has knocked me for six.”
Police who were called following initial reports of the attack last year sealed off an area outside Lloyds, erected a white police tent over the crime scene, and asked staff to close the bar.
Forensics experts in white suits combed the scene while officers kept members of the public - including those gathering for Remembrance Sunday commemorations - away.
The force at the time said there had been an ‘altercation’ at around 12.30am and when officers arrived at the scene - one of the busiest streets for revellers on nights out in Sheffield - they discovered a man with a serious head injury.
He was given emergency first aid at the scene before paramedics rushed him to the Royal Hallamshire Hospital where his condition was initially described as critical but stable.