First pictures released of 21-year-old who was found stabbed in country lane on Christmas

These are the first pictures released of a 21-year-old who was found stabbed to death on a country road on Christmas Day.

Police have now launched a murder probe after Mohammed Aftab was stabbed in the neck before he was discovered in Dyehouse Lane in Rochdale, Greater Manchester, on Monday.

He also suffered multiple head injuries.

Officers were called to the scene at around 8.15am on Christmas Day and he was formally identified on Boxing Day.

Police said Aftab’s family were left devastated after his death and asked anyone with information to come forward.

Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Wilkinson from the force’s major incident team said: “Learning that their son has died has been understandably devastating for the family and our officers continue to support them at this difficult time.

“Due to the time of year, the area wasn’t as busy as usual but there are people out there who know exactly how Mohammed’s life was tragically taken and I cannot stress the importance that they contact us.

“Since the call came in, the dedicated team of officers have been working tirelessly on this case and will continue to do so until we track down those responsible and make them answer for this horrific crime.”

Hundreds of comments from Friends and family have poured in on social media paying tribute to Aftab.

Aftab Ali wrote: ‘Terrible news. Visited the family at Bilal mosque and it’s very difficult to comprehend how this has happened.’

‘I hope those responsible are caught, and if anyone knows anything (which someone most definitely does) they need to come forward and make sure justice is served.’

Mukhlis Ibn Ali wrote on Facebook: ‘What a nice respectful brother you was to me.’

‘Brother Mohammed Aftab has left the world, another young brother, yet we live life like we’re promised many years.’

Saf Kahn posted: ‘Feeling heartbroken with out you. Can’t believe you have left us. RIP.’

‘You were a diamond to have known and you will always be in my heart.’

Suhail Aboo added: ‘Such shocking and tragic news. Only saw you Sunday as well. Hope they catch whoever is responsible.’

A statement released by Bilal mosque’s Facebook page, were shocked family and friends were mourning, urged anyone with information to go to the police.

The statement said: “The Rochdale Council of Mosques are supporting the plea for information following the launch of a murder investigation after a man was found dead on Monday 25th December.

“This young man was from our own community and the tragic nature of his death means we must try harder to assist the police in their appeal for witnesses to help work out the circumstances surrounding his death.

“If you have any information that you think might help us, no matter how small, please do get in touch with the police.”

Anyone with any information is asked to call police on 101, or Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.