THE family of a teenager found dead in the street have told of their anguish because they still don’t know how he died.
Burnley College student Ryan Anderton, 18, was found by police on patrol lying dead in the street in Rawtenstall.
He had been on a night out in the town and police said he had been with two men in a flat above a shop.
He had injuries consistent with falling from a height but officers said they have been unable to conclusively say how he died.
As police released CCTV images showing Ryan’s last movements his family said they were ‘unable to lay their good and gentle guy to rest’ because they still didn’t know what had happened.
Police admitted it was ‘an incredibly difficult time for Ryan’s family as they are yet to receive the answers they need’.
It is thought Ryan could have fallen from a window in the flat above Rent Smart estate agents in Kay Street. Officers are trying to trace a woman he met on the night out as well as taxi drivers seen in Kay Street.
His uncle, long distance lorry driver Simon Anderton, 37, yesterday pleaded for anyone with information about why Ryan was in Kay Street that night to contact police.
He said: “We are devastated. We are finding it hard to come to terms with losing Ryan.
“We have lost a son, brother, grandson, nephew and a friend. Ryan was a quiet lad who had only just started going out and enjoying life.
“We don’t feel we can lay Ryan to rest, until we find out Ryan’s last movements.”
The former Alder Grange High School pupil had been on a night out with friends in the pubs and bars around Rawtenstall in the hours before he died.
Detectives who are treating his death as ‘unexplained’ released CCTV pictures of Ryan in the Rhythm Station nightclub, off New Hall Hey Road, the last place they believe he visited before his death.
Police said Ryan had decided to stay out after his friends went home and somehow made his way to Kay Street with two acquaintances he met that night.
It was one of these acquaintances that gained ‘legitimate access’ to the unfurnished empty flat above Rent Smart letting agency from where police believe Ryan fell.
The two men, aged 25 and 32, were arrested by police after his body was found just after 3am on Saturday, February 11, but both were then released without charge.
Simon said: “Ryan was a good, gentle lad who would do anything for anyone. He was not a stupid.
“It is awful not knowing what caused his death. The impact on the family has been awful, my mum does not want to go out and my sister is trying to be strong for her other children.
“It is very important we find out how and why Ryan died.”
Police have backed the family’s appeal by releasing images of taxis spotted in the area that night and a woman Ryan was seen talking to.
None of these witnesses are believed to have played any part in Ryan’s death and are needed to help build an idea of his last movements.
Detective Superintendent Neil Hunter said: “I would ask the public to look at these images and see if they recognise any of them.
“In relation to the taxis, it could well be that they have travelled from nearby Burnley or Rochdale and I would ask them to cast their minds back and see if they can remember being in the Rawtenstall area at that time.
“I am also keen to trace the woman who was in the nightclub on the Friday evening. I believe that she could help us build up a more detailed picture of the events prior to Mr Anderton being found.
“This is an incredibly difficult time for Ryan’s family as they are yet to receive the answers they need to the questions they have about Ryan’s death. Dedicated family liaison officers are supporting them and will continue to do so.
“It is never too late for people to come forward with information and if anybody out there knows something that can give this grieving family the answers they need then they should come forward and contact the police.”
Ryan’s mother Catrina Anderton had previously paid tribute to her ‘kind-hearted’ son who was studying finance and accountancy at Burnley College and was hoping to go onto university next year.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 .