Major inquiry launched after Norfolk assault victim dies

Stephen PullingerPolice have scaled up an assault probe into a possible murder inquiry after the death of 52-year-old Norfolk man.Stephen Pullinger

Police have scaled up an assault probe into a possible murder inquiry after the death of 52-year-old Norfolk man.

An inquest into the death of Archibald Kerr, who had a long criminal record for drug dealing, was opened and adjourned in Norwich yesterday 10 days after he died in hospital.

The inquest heard he had remained unresponsive since he had been assaulted and admitted to the James Paget University Hospital, in Gorleston, on Sunday, January 31.

Preliminary results from a post mortem examination showed he had died from bronchial pneumonia resulting from his head injuries.

Mr Kerr had been attacked near his home in Deneside, Great Yarmouth, close to its junction with St Peter's Road, at about 1.45am on January 31.

He had received his injuries after becoming involved in a dispute with a group of men.

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Local shop workers yesterday said Mr Kerr had been well-known in the area as 'Archie'.

His most recent of three convictions for drug dealing came in July 2007 when he was jailed for three years at Norwich Crown Court after admitting possession of heroin with intent to supply.

The court had heard how Mr Kerr, who had been an addict for 20 years, was observed by an undercover police officer on that occasion hiding heroin with a street value of �2,300 in a Yarmouth graveyard.

In 1999, he had been jailed for four-and-a-half years after admitting a similar offence relating to an incident when he was stopped on the M6 in Cheshire and found to have heroin with a street value of �2,700 in the car.

His death is being investigated by the Norfolk and Suffolk joint major investigation team and anyone with information is being asked to contact it on 0845 4564567.

A spokesman for the team said initial results from the post-mortem examination had been inconclusive and further medical tests were on-going.

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