Family’s heartbreak as e-scooter rider, 20, hit and killed by van in suspected murder

Heartbreaking tributes are being paid to a young e-scooter rider who was fatally struck by a van in a suspected murder in broad daylight.

Ben Smith’s devastated family are remembering him as a “much loved” son and brother who was “taken from all of us in such tragic circumstances”.

The 20-year-old’s family have begged people to contact police if they witnessed his death or have any information about Thursday afternoon’s killing in Bamber Bridge, Lancashire.

Police have charged Samuel Bretherton, 25, of Leyland with murder after Mr Smith, from Walton-le-Dale, was hit by a Ford Transit van while riding an e-scooter.

Mr Smith did shortly after the collision, which occurred outside a Morrisons, at about 1pm, LancsLive reports.

Bretherton was due to appear in court on Saturday.

A second man was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a wing mirror being struck from the van just prior to the deadly collision.

That man has been released under investigation pending further enquiries.

Mr Smith’s family said in a statement released by police: “Ben was a much loved son, brother, father, partner, grandson and friend to many.

“He has been taken from all of us in such tragic circumstances and we would urge anyone with any information to come forward to help the police.”

Grieving friends have paid tribute to Mr Smith on social media.

One wrote: “Life is so cruel. RIP Ben. Every part of me so wishes this could have been avoided.”

Lostock Hall Juniors Football Club wrote: “We are extremely saddened to hear of a former LHJFC player being killed today in Bamber Bridge.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Ben’s family and friends at this terrible time. RIP Ben.”

Det Ch Insp Zoe Russo, from Lancashire’s Force Major Investigation Team (FMIT), added: “I would like to thank the public for their support and the witnesses that have already come forward to tell us about what they saw.

“I am asking anyone who saw what happened but hasn’t yet made contact to speak to us.

“We know that this shocking incident has caused some concern within the local community but as legal proceedings are now active and out of respect for Ben’s bereaved family and friends, I would ask people not to speculate on social media.

“If you know something, please speak to us instead.”

A spokesperson for Lancashire Constabulary said: “A man has been charged in connection with the death of 20-year-old man following a collision in Bamber Bridge (on Thursday).

“Samuel Bretherton, 25, of Leyland has been charged with the murder of Ben Smith from Walton-le-Dale, after the incident which happened shortly before 1pm on Station Road.

“He is due to appear before Preston Magistrates’ Court (on Saturday).

“Ben was on an e-scooter when he was hit by a Ford Transit van.

“A second man, arrested on suspicion of criminal damage in connection with a wing mirror being struck from the Transit van just prior to the collision, has now been released under investigation pending further enquiries.”