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The Independent UK
The Independent UK
Tara Cobham

Tributes to ‘absolute legend’ rugby player stabbed to death near Cornwall nightclub

Cornwall Police

Tributes to an “absolute legend” and “kind-hearted” rugby player have poured in from family, friends and teammates after he was stabbed to death near a nightclub in Cornwall.

Michael Allen, 35, has been named locally as the victim in an outbreak of violence near the Eclipse nightclub in Bodmin, in the early hours of Sunday morning.

At least seven others were taken to hospital after the incident suffering stab wounds, with injuries ranging from “serious” to “minor”, although none were described as life-threatening.

Police at the scene in Bodmin after the fatal stabbing on Sunday (SWNS)

Devon and Cornwall Police have arrested a 24-year-old man from Bodmin on suspicion of murder, attempted murder and causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

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As the police investigation continues, family, friends and teammates have paid tribute to Mr Allen, who lived in Bodmin and was a popular player at the local rugby club Bodmin RFC.

A brief family statement said: “Mike was simply a much-loved son, brother, grandson and uncle, who loved his dogs. His family would like to respectfully request privacy at this time”.

A friend wrote on social media: “You were a great funny guy Michael Allen, an absolute legend, heart of gold. Rest in peace big man absolutely gutted.”

Another friend took to Facebook to write of her devastation and pay tribute to her “kind-hearted” friend, whose nickname was ‘Chabel’.

A third wrote of her sadness on the platform, describing Mr Allen as “such a lovely, bubbly lad”.

Tributes have been paid to Mr Allen, whose loved ones said was “the kindest, most gentle man” (PA Media)

Another family member wrote: "What a horrible world we live in, Michael, love you always cuz. He really was the kindest, most gentle man. He will be very missed."

The Hole in the Wall, Bodmin, held a minute’s silence for Mr Allen on Sunday evening as it was a pub he used to go to often, especially with his teammates.

A tribute site has also been set up at Bodmin Rugby Club, where people can gather to remember Mr Allen.

The incident took place near the Eclipse Nightclub in Bodmin, in the early hours of Sunday morning (Google Maps)

Paying tribute to the rugby player, Bodmin RFC said Mr Allen’s humour had left a mark on the club.

In a post on Facebook, the rugby club said: “It is with great sadness that we can now announce the passing of our player and friend Mike Allen (Chabel).

“Mike came to the club earlier this season and quickly became a big part of our squad. His humour and kindness has left a mark on us all and we will miss him dearly.

“Our thoughts are with Mike’s family at this devastating time.

“There is a memorial set up outside the rugby club where people are welcome to come to pay their respects and lay flowers. Fly high brother.”

As the police probe continues, family, friends and teammates have paid tribute to Mr Allen, who lived in Bodmin and was a popular player at the local rugby club Bodmin RFC (SWNS)

Alongside a picture of him playing rugby, fellow Bodmin RFC player Ollie Brooks wrote: “It was a pleasure Chabel. Fly high brother. Mike Allen [heart].” Similarly, Lachlan Blacklaw paid tribute to his teammate, writing: “It was a pleasure Chabel. Never Forgotten Brother. Run hard forever. Mike Allen [heart].”

Helston RFC also paid tribute to the sports player, posting: “The thoughts of everyone here at Helston RFC are with Bodmin RFC today. The tragic loss of Mike Allen will be felt by all. Our condolences to his family, friends and club.”

Lankelly Fowey Rugby Club wrote of how “deeply saddened” the whole club is to hear of Mr Allen’s passing. “All of us at Lankelly RFC are deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Chabel (Mike Allen),” it wrote. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the entire Bodmin RFC community during this difficult time. Please accept our heartfelt condolences and know that we stand with you in this time of mourning. Bodmin RFC.”

Michael’s family said he was a ‘much-loved son, brother, grandson and uncle, who loved his dogs’ (Supplied)

Licensee Stephen Hall told The Independent that, while he did not know Mr Allen personally, he frequently saw the rugby player in the Hole in the Wall and many pubgoers knew him.

“There’s a lot of shock and emotion about what happened in the early hours,” Mr Hall said. “It affects the town greatly, but, more importantly, it affects the family and friends.”

Scott Mann, MP for North Cornwall, shared his own upset at the “truly horrific news”. He wrote on Twitter: “My thoughts and prayers are with the friends and the family of the victims”.

Pictures taken on Monday show a police cordon that remains around the scene outside the Eclipse nightclub.

Devon and Cornwall Police were initially called at 3.15am on Sunday following reports of a “serious altercation”. The force confirmed that some of those caught up in the incident had been in the Eclipse nightclub earlier in the evening, but it said the attack itself happened outside.

The victim was later confirmed dead at the scene. His next of kin has been informed and is being supported by specialised officers.

Police said the 24-year-old man who was arrested remains in police custody. The force also urged anyone with information to come forward.

Police said a 24-year-old man who was arrested remains in custody and urged anyone with information to come forward (SWNS)

Supt Rob Youngman said it was not currently known what the relationship was between the arrested suspect and the victim and they were still trying to establish a motive.

He said: "At this moment in time we are working to continue to understand the motivation behind this incident. The relationship, if any, between those involved is not clear at this stage.

"We believe some members of the group who were injured had been in Eclipse nightclub. They were then outside in Castle Canyke Road when the incident happened."

One local described kick-out time at the club as "rowdy and unsafe". They said: "Kick-out time at the Eclipse is always awful, it's so rowdy and unsafe. Don't think I've never not seen a fight go on. Thoughts with all people affected by this awful news."

Another person said: "No such thing as a good old punch up anymore mate, absolutely gutted - he was a diamond."

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