When police investigated an assault and burglary at the home of RAF war veteran Christopher Fields, they assumed the incident was caused by drink and called a joiner to fix his broken window.

But a decision by two officers to leave 37-year old Mr Fields alone and injured with a ''friend'' known only as ''Owen'' had tragic consequences for the former serviceman who won two medals following service in Iraq and Afghanistan.

For unbeknown to the constables ''Owen'' was in fact Joe Hasledine who had just beaten up Mr Fields in a drunken rage following a dispute row over a dog.

When the officers left, Hasledine attacked Mr Fields for a second time again during which he held a can of beer in one hand whilst kicking and stamping on the victim's head as he cowered on his sofa.

Mr Fields who was medically discharged from the RAF in 2006 due to post traumatic stress disorder was taken to hospital with fatal head injuries. He never regained consciousness and passed away nine days later.

Inquiries into the incident revealed the two constables who spoken to Mr Fields noticed he had blood on his face and the frame of his lounge window knocked out.

But although Hasledine, 24, returned to the flat through the open hole in the wall as officers were still at the scene, they left the two men together in the mistaken belief the pair were friends after Mr Fields declined to give any information as to what happened to him.

They failed to find out who Hasledine was - or even carried out background checks on him - in the belief he did not legally have to give them his name. They also failed to investigate how the window became damaged.

At an inquest in Stockport, Greater Manchester coroner John Pollard criticised the constables as he recorded a verdict of unlawful killing and said: ''There were inquiries the officers could have made that would have protected Mr Fields and they were not done. My belief is that they, unfortunately, took this scene to be the dwelling of someone affected by alcohol and they did not fully investigate.

''It's totally unsatisfactory and they could have pursued it further. They could have better investigated at the time."

Hasledine admitted murder at Manchester Crown Court in June 2015. He was jailed for life with a minimum recommendation he serve 16 and a half years.

Cavendish Press' coverage of the inquest appeared in The Sun, Daily Mirror, Daily Express and The Times. If you have a story please contact us on 0161 237 1066 or email [email protected]