A DAD of two was beaten to death while trying to fend off a gang of muggers who attempted to grab his girlfriend’s handbag.
Six teenagers were held on suspicion of murder after Danny Humble, 35, was attacked as the couple walked through a concrete underpass.
The pair opted to take the short-cut home when they returned from the pub at around 1am on Saturday.
They were set upon as they entered the subway, Danny suffering a serious head injury in the struggle.
He died in hospital on Sunday after the attack in Cramlington, Northumbria.
The subway has been cordoned off for a forensic examination.
Local June Taylor said: “We heard the teenagers tried to grab the woman’s handbag and he retaliated.”
Another local said: “The woman started knocking on doors screaming for help.
“The man was laid out on the grass near the underpass where the paramedics were working on him. It was horrible.”
A third added: “He was a lovely lad and very placid.
“I don’t think he’s ever been in a fight. He had two young kids. It’s heartbreaking, just awful.”
Others said the quiet area was plagued by yobs high on drink and drugs.
They said several were in the area on the night of the attack, celebrating the start of their half-term.
Police confirmed that six males aged 16 and 17 had been arrested on suspicion of murder as specialist family liaison cops comforted Danny’s family.
Det Insp Joanne Brooks said her force’s “thoughts” were with them.