SCORTON residents are comforting the family of a much-loved villager, who died after a violent attack at a celebrity party in London.
Philip Sherriff, 37, died in a London hospital on Sunday, with his wife, Jane, 34, at his bedside.
He had been seriously injured a few days earlier, after being slashed across the neck with a broken bottle, seconds after pop star Jessie J had finished her set at an invitation-only corporate event, hosted by his employer, smartphone firm Blackberry, at the Pulse nightclub, Southwark.
The Metropolitan Police are now leading a murder inquiry.
A Leicester man, Ashley Charles, 25, has been charged in connection with the incident.
Mr Sherriff’s death has shocked the close-knit village of Scorton, where residents and friends have rallied round the family of the telecommunications worker. The Sherriffs have two children, Megan eight, and Rowan, five. Both are understood to be pupils at Scorton CE Primary School.
Mrs Sherriff is being supported by officers from the Met and Lancashire Constabulary. In a statement, she said: “Phil was the most genuine, likeable and generous man you could ever hope to meet. He was a perfect husband, son, and father to our daughter and son. His death is completely and utterly devastating.”
The family are respected throughout the village, which they moved to about seven years ago, initially living on Station Lane, before moving to Hazelhead Lane.
A community leader, who asked not to be named, but who has been comforting the family, said there had been an outpouring of love and concern.
He said: “There has been a wonderful lot of support in the village; so many people have been in touch and want to help.”
He said the family had been part of the community since moving there in 2005. He suggested there may be a service at some stage in St Peter’s Church.
One villager said: “It is a complete shock. He had two little children, a family, he had just started a new job and now he’s gone.”
Neighbours said that Mr Sherriff’s family had been at his bedside at Royal London Hospital since the attack in the early hours of last Wednesday.
He had undergone an operation and had been in a critical condition for three days.
Mrs Sherriff, a member of Garstang Running Club and a keen amateur photographer, is understood to have returned home from London on Sunday.
Jessie J, one of the judges in hit BBC1 show The Voice, had performed alongside rapper Wretch 32 at the event, sponsored by Mr Sherriff’s firm, Blackberry, just hours before the attack.
On learning of Mr Sherriff’s death, Jessie J wrote on Twitter: “I am lost for words. All I can say is my thoughts, love and respects are with the family and children of the man who attended the Blackberry gig last week who sadly lost his life this morning. So sad.”
The event had also been attended by stars of reality television show The Only Way Is Essex, rapper Chipmunk and former N-Dubz member Fazer, who were all locked in the nightclub until 2am on Wednesday while police questioned witnesses.
Mr Sherriff had only just started a new job at Research in Motion (RIM), which had designed Blackberry’s instant messenger, which was being launched at the event.
Patrick Spence, managing director of global sales at RIM, posted on his Twitter account: “The thoughts and prayers of the entire RIM family are with the Sherriff family on this sad day. RIP Philip.”
Company director Charles, of Nevanthon Road, Leicester, appeared at Camberwell Green Magistrates Court on Saturday morning accused of using a smashed bottle to attack Mr Sherriff.
The defendant, who spoke only to confirm his name and date of birth, was ordered to attend Inner London Crown Court on Friday, April 20. An application for bail was refused.