Police cordoned off part of Sheffield city centre after a woman collapsed and died.
The 60-year-old woman, who has not yet been named, dropped to the ground at around 6am yesterday and was taken to hospital but medics were unable to revive her.
Concerns over the circumstances surrounding her death were raised because of injuries on her body, which police wanted investigated.
Detectives involved in the investigation said they were treating her death as suspicious as a ‘matter of routine’.
The area used by street traders on Waingate, outside Castle Market, was taped off at both ends yesterday morning with police officers standing guard to prevent anyone entering the area.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said: “A woman has died in hospital after she was found collapsed in Sheffield city centre.
“Police were called just before 6am on Friday after the woman was found on Waingate in the pedestrian area near the junction with Castle Street.
“The police investigation is in its early stages with the death being treated as suspicious, as a matter of routine.”
Albert Clarke, 78, of Parson Cross, who was shopping in Castle Market yesterday, said: “It was shocking to see all the tape.
“I have never seen such a large area cordoned off before. I have not seen trouble down here during the day but I am not sure what happens at night.”
Shopper Anthony Bingham, 67, of Pitsmoor, added: “When I got here and saw the tape somebody told me a woman had died early in the morning but nobody knew what had happened, just rumours of a stabbing, which was shocking.”
Ishtiaq Qazi, 47, who runs K&G Jewellers on Waingate, arrived to open up his shop yesterday morning to findthe premises at the centre of a police cordon.
“Thursdays for some reason are always bad here – there are always people drinking, selling drugs and fighting,” he said.
“A lot of the outside stalls tend to be empty on Thursdays and people hang about on them all day.”
Mr Qazi added: “Three years ago a man with a large knife and a mask kicked in my door and stole jewellery – that’s what it’s like here.”
n Anyone with information about the death should call police on 101.