Police are appealing for witnesses after a man drowned in a Manchester canal last week.

Steven MacDonald, 45, of Openshaw, was found dead on Friday July 24th in the water by Dulcie Street near the Piccadilly 111 complex.

The area is used by men meeting for sex.

MacDonald, who was openly gay, was last seen alone on Dulcie Street at 2.10am on Wednesday July 22nd. He had been drinking with friends in AXM and New York New York earlier in the evening and was wearing a black suit and white shirt.

A post-mortem examination confirmed he had drowned but police are trying to establish how he came to be in the canal.

In a statement, his family said: “Steven was a loving son, father and brother who loved and adored his beautiful children.

“He will be sadly missed by his children, mum, dad, brothers, extended family and all his great friends.

“He has left a hole in all our hearts. We are all devastated by this tragic loss. We will try and get through this with all of the fond and happy memories he has left behind.”

Detective Inspector Richard Eales said: “Steven’s family are left devastated by his death, and want to know what happened to him.

“Our evidence suggests that Steven had been in the canal not long after he was last seen.

“We know that the area is a place sometimes used by men who are looking for sex with other men and I am appealing to anyone that maybe able to help. Even if you didn’t see anything, what you may have heard on the grapevine should also be shared with us.

“If you were anywhere near the canal towpath at that time, do you remember seeing Steven?

“I am not interested in why you were there; all I want to know is what you saw.

“Your information will be treated in confidence, and you can even call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously.

“You can also make contact with the dedicated Neighbourhood Policing Team for the gay village.

“I just want to know what happened.”

Anyone with information is asked to call police on 0161 856 3540, the gay village’s Neighbourhood Policing Team on 0161 856 3221 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.