Leeds United fan, 37, dies in Bulgarian hospital after suffering serious head injuries

A Leeds sports fan has died while on holiday in Bulgaria.

Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 3:08 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd October 2018, 3:13 pm

Stephen Speight, 37, from Farsley, was on a sightseeing trip to the city of Sofia when he suffered serious head injuries in an unexplained incident.

Stephen Speight's family search for answers after incident in BulgariaThe devoted Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos fan was placed in an induced coma in hospital and underwent surgery to treat a bleed to the brain.

Stephen's brother Andrew Peacock confirmed in an emotional Facebook post that he had died overnight.

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"It’s with deep regret that our wonderful brother passed away last night. It’s not sunk in yet we’re all devastated, we love him so much and don’t know how we will manage without him. God bless Stevie."

His family has flown out to his bedside - where they began to suspect that Stephen had been the victim of an assault due to the bruising on his head. Hospital staff had told relatives that he was thought to have suffered a fall after drinking alcohol.

Stephen was a popular figure in his home village of Farsley. His mother Barbara and stepfather had travelled to Bulgaria after hearing news of his injuries and the family had launched a Gofundme page to cover medical bills while they established whether he had travel insurance.

Andrew described Stephen's appearance as bruised and swollen.

“It’s horrendous. Not knowing what’s happened to him and the fact that someone could have done this to him when he wouldn’t hurt a fly. He’s so placid and kind. It’s just completely out of character.”

His last contact with his family was a text message he sent to Barbara telling her he was going out for dinner, but a later phone call from his brother Gary was answered by hospital staff.

Family friend Jayne O’Shea said:

“He was a really lovely, genuine guy - really popular, very friendly and down to earth. He’s well-known in Farsley. Everyone is shocked by what’s happened - and it’s the not knowing what’s happened.”

The Foreign Office is providing consular assistance to Stephen's relatives.