Recognition for police team after investigation into fatal attack in Sheffield

A police team involved in an investigation into the death of a man in Sheffield city centre has been recognised for its work in cracking the case.

Thursday, 25th February 2021, 2:32 pm

South Yorkshire Police’s major crime unit launched an investigation after a man was fatally attacked on a night out in Sheffield.

Xiangyu Li, who was 26 and from China, was a former University of Sheffield student who had returned to the city and was attacked by fellow student Yongqu Liang, 25, on Union Street in the early hours of Tuesday, March 24 last year – just hours after the UK had been put into the first national lockdown.

Liang, who fled the UK via Dublin and Frankfurt in a bid to escape to China, was tracked down and pleaded guilty to manslaughter on October 5, when he was jailed for five years.

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A South Yorkshire Police team has been commended for an investigation into a murder in Sheffield

Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, commended the police team for its ‘skill and expedition shown in the most extraordinary of times’ and whilst facing ‘logistical difficulties arising just hours after a national lockdown.’

Senior Investigating Officer in the case, Detective Chief Inspector Mark Oughton, said: “Xiangyu was killed as the nation was reeling from unprecedented changes to daily life. Policing, like every other organisation, sector, or industry, was rapidly looking at how it was to carry on delivering the best possible service to the public.

“Xiangyu’s death was our first murder investigation under Covid-19 restrictions, little did we know in those early hours what logistical challenges we would have to tackle.

He said the biggest challenge that Covid-19 presented was in relation to contact with the victim’s family.

DCI Oughton added: “Our family liaison officer in this case did a masterful job, ensuring that Xiangyu’s family could get to the UK and felt supported throughout the whole process.

“The family meeting was one of the most difficult I have ever been involved in. Speaking to a devastated family, through masks and translators was not only bizarre, but extremely hard for everyone involved.

“I cannot imagine how they felt, travelling to the UK, as the pandemic took hold, facing the death of their child.”

Commenting on the commendation, DCI Oughton said: “This was a fantastic team effort and every person who was involved worked incredibly hard to secure a result for the family.”

In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.