MYSTERY surrounds the death of a man found on a Sunderland city centre street.
The man, who has not been formally identified, was discovered on steps off West Wear Street at about 8.20pm on Tuesday.
Investigations are now being carried out to establish how the man –thought to be in his 20s – died, but police believe no one else was involved.
The man is believed to have been riding a bike before his death. It is not known if this has been recovered.
A post-mortem examination by a Home Office pathologist proved inconclusive, after being carried out at Sunderland Royal Hospital yesterday.
Officers stood watch over the five-storey stone steps, which were closed off to the public while detectives and forensic experts combed the area.
The stairway by the Echo 24 building leads down to University of Sunderland student accommodation at Pann’s Bank and Scotia Quay.
People walking past the police cordon said they were shocked to hear of the man’s death.
One 18-year-old history student, who has just moved to the city, said: “I don’t really know much about it, but it’s worrying, as a lot of people use those stairs as a short cut after a night out.
“They can be really dark and slippy.”
Maureen Thomas, 62, from East Herrington, was visiting Sunderland to go shopping with her daughter and parked in West Wear Street carpark, near where the man’s body was found.
She said: “I think it’s awful. I wouldn’t come here on a night.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said today: “At 8.20pm on Tuesday, November 12, police were informed that the body of a man had been found in William Street, Sunderland.
“Police are carrying out inquiries into the death, which is currently being treated as unexplained.”