08/02/2019 12:38 GMT | Updated 08/02/2019 16:08 GMT

Preston Murder: Man Charged After Mum Found Dead On Street After Brutal Attack

Grieving family of assaulted Rosie Darbyshire, 27, say her son is now their priority.

Lancashire Constabulary
Rosie Darbyshire

A man has been charged with the murder of a mother found dead in a Preston street after being brutally assaulted.

Rosie Darbyshire, 27, was discovered by emergency services on a pavement in Preston following reports of an altercation at 2am on Thursday.

Police found the victim had been subjected to a “brutal and sustained assault”. A subsequent post mortem examination revealed Darbyshire died as a result of serious head injuries.

Lancashire Constabulary have now revealed that following consultation with the Crown Prosecution Service, Benjamin Topping, 25, of St George’s Road, Preston, has been charged and is remanded to appear before Preston Magistrates Court on Saturday morning.

Police say the matter has also been referred to the Independent Office of Police Conduct watchdog following some “previous contact” between Rosie Darbyshire and the force prior to her death.

The constabulary said the move was “standard practice” in such circumstances and it would be inappropriate to go into further detail at this stage.

Darbyshire’s family have been visited and made aware of the charge and the referral to the IOPC. Family liaison officers are providing them with support, police said.

Darbyshire’s family earlier paid tribute to her and said their priority was now to look after her son.

“It doesn’t seem real that our crazy, wig-wearing, talented, goofy Rosie won’t be bursting through the door in song anymore,” their statement read.

“We are utterly heartbroken and don’t doubt that this devastating news will be affecting so many more people than we could ever imagine.

“We ask for time to grieve and attempt to process this as a family. Rosie’s wonderful son is our priority now.”

Tributes have been flooding social media and floral tributes are being left at the scene of her death.

Detective Chief Inspector Geoff Hurst, from Lancashire’s Force Major Investigation Team, said the investigation was continuing.

He added: “Firstly my thoughts are with Rosie’s family who are understandably devastated.

“I have a team of people working on getting to the bottom of what happened to Rosie and would like to reiterate my appeal to anyone who may have seen or heard anything in the area at the time to get in touch as soon as possible as you could have vital information.

“There will be extra officers out and about in the vicinity of where this tragic incident happened so please speak to them if you have any concerns or you know something you want to share with us.”

Anyone with information about the incident can call 101 quoting log 433 of February 7.