Detectives in Manchester have joined forces with a gay group to appeal to anyone who can help them piece together what happened to a man who drowned in a canal near a well-known cruising spot.

The Lesbian and Gay Foundation has offered to act as an intermediary for any witnesses who do not want to speak directly to the police.

Jimmy Lynch, 46, drowned in the canal in an area close to Ducie Street and Dale Street, around 2am on Friday October 3rd.

The area is a place sometimes used by men who are looking for sex with other men.

Police said they are aware of a number of potential witnesses who were in the area at the time of Mr Lynch’s death who have not yet come forward to police.

Detective Superintendent Julian Ross of Greater Manchester Police’s Major Incident Team said:

“We understand there may have been people in the area who may not feel comfortable talking to us about why they were there or what they saw.

“The LGF can act as an intermediary between the witnesses and the police. They will be able to collect information and pass it on to police, if necessary keeping the witness anonymous.”

The LGF has offices based on Princess Street and works with the police to highlight issues of homophobic hate crime and promote liason with the police and the gay community.

Detective Superintendent Ross added: “As the investigation continues we are getting to a point where we will be able to identify people believed to be at the scene.

“We will endeavour to approach any potential witness in a sensitive manner, however for some it would be far easier for them to make the approach to the LGF or us.

“If you were a witness that night please get in touch.”

To pass information through the LGF call 0161 235 8035 (office hours) or 0845 3 30 30 30 (6pm-10pm) or visit them at 105-107 Princess Street, Manchester M1.

To contact police call the incident room on 0161 856 4711 or alternatively contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.