A FORMER middleweight boxer was hacked to death in an Old Trafford street in what police believe to be a gangland killing.

The body of Christopher Coady, aged 41, was found mutilated on Stretford Road on Friday night with his injured friend lying nearby.

Mr Coady, who was a finalist in the Amateur Boxing Association championship in 1982, suffered what police describe as "horrendous wounds inflicted in a frenzied attack by a machete or similar sharp, heavy weapon."

Paramedics attempted to keep him alive at the scene near the Platford pub, but Mr Coady was pronounced dead on arrival at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The second man suffered less serious slash wounds, and is still in hospital.

Paul Dunne, coach at Sale West Boxing Club, said of Christopher Coady: "I have known him for about 20 years. He was a nice, easy-going fellow who was fairly quiet. The last time I saw him, at the ex-boxer's association about a month ago, we spoke briefly and he said everything was fine. It is a terrible shame about his death, and it has certainly taken me aback."

Detectives believe the slaying could be connected to territorial battles with young drug dealers in the area. And it is understood a wrap of drugs was found close to Mr Coady.

A spokesman for the police said: "We know he was attacked by three or four men with the lower part of their faces covered. It may be that somebody saw a man or group of men hanging around, who just might have been waiting for Mr Coady to appear. We are interested in hearing from anybody who witnessed the attack, or was in the area, between 8pm and 10.30pm or discovers discarded clothing or weapons."

If you can help contact the police, in the strictest confidence, on 856 7830 on 0800 555111.

Converted for the new archive on 13 March 2001. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.