A TEENAGER knifed to death in a Huddersfield street had been a top- level schoolboy boxer.
Jason Peter Ripley died hours after police responded to reports of a fight in Sheepridge on Thursday afternoon.
Police are particularly anxious to speak to another youth about the incident and have issued a description of him.
Jason, 17, boxed for England at schoolboy level four years ago and was also runner-up in the country for his weight.
He lived in Dalton and suffered fatal stab wounds when trouble flared on Sheepridge Road at 2.10pm on Thursday.
He was found badly injured and taken to Huddersfield Royal Infirmary, where he had emergency surgery.
Sadly, medical experts were unable to save him and he died at about 7.30pm that evening.
The incident happened outside Jack Pearson's betting office and the Pricecutter general store.
It is not clear if Jason or his killer had been in either the bookmaker's or the shop, which is also a post office.
Both were taped off under police guard and closed all day yesterday.
A red K-registered car at the scene was covered by a white tent to preserve it for forensic examination.
At this stage it is unclear if the car forms part of the murder investigation.
Speaking at a Press conference at Huddersfield police station yesterday, the man heading the investigation, Det Supt Paul Taylor, said he believed several people were in the area at the time Jason was stabbed and may have important information.
"We believe there were others around at the time," he said. "I think there were others who were involved, or saw the incident, and have some knowledge of it."
And Det Supt Taylor made a direct plea to witnesses. "Perhaps you had just been shopping to the supermarket and saw Jason chatting to someone," he said.
"If you were in the area we need to speak to you, because you may be able to piece together what happened."
Some witnesses have already come forward.
Det Supt Taylor added: "There may have been something leading up to the incident, either just inside Jack Pearson's or the Pricecutter store. That's why it is important anyone who saw anything comes forward."
Detectives are particularly anxious to trace an African-Caribbean youth in his mid to late teens who was wearing dark clothes.
Det Supt Taylor said: "We are determined to catch whoever is responsible for Jason's murder."
He said specially-trained officers were caring for his devastated family.
"They are extremely distressed," he said.
No weapon has yet been recovered.
Jason was the national number two at 36 kilos Class B after losing in the final of the National Schoolboys Championships in March, 2001.
At about the same time he fought for England Schoolboys against South Africa at Barnsley.
He was a member of Batley and Dewsbury Amateur Boxing Club.
Gary Hartley, the man who founded Dalton Dynamos soccer club, said he was terribly saddened by news of Jason's death.
"I grew up in Dalton and knew Jason and his mum, Mary, very well," he said. "Jason came to play with us in our early years and he was a really nice lad.
"He stayed with us for a couple of years, but then took up boxing as a sport.
"It is a terrible tragedy".
A woman was shocked to find the Pricecutter store and post office sealed off yesterday.
When told someone had been murdered she said: "Oh my God, how frightening.
"I've lived here for 45 years and it was a lovely place to live at first," she added.
"Now it's getting worse. This is terrible."
The rundown area where the knifing happened is also near the former Co-op store, which is just an empty, roofless shell.
Debris-strewn wasteland next to the Pricecutter store and two boarded-up cottages leads down to the nearby Riddings estate.
Anyone with information which may help the murder inquiry should phone detectives on 01484 436683 or Crimestoppers free and anonymously on 0800 555 111.