Stoke & Staffordshire

Family of dead England fan Rob Spray face hard Christmas

Rob Spray Image copyright Katie Brown
Image caption The family of Rob Spray, from Staffordshire, said he loved Christmas due to the festive football calendar

The family of a football fan who died while in Bulgaria for an England game say Christmas will be hard because it was a time of year he loved.

Rob Spray, 32, from Staffordshire, was in Sofia for England's Euro 2020 qualifier on 14 October when he died.

His sister Katie Brown said relatives talked to his ashes daily and the family would put out a dinner plate on Christmas Day.

"He loved this time of year with the festive football fixtures," she said.

West Bromwich Albion supporter Mr Spray had been in Bulgaria as part of a friend's birthday celebration.

His sister said there were still "many unanswered questions" over his death, leaving the family in "limbo".

Local reports said Mr Spray, from Heath Hayes, was taken to hospital with a head injury and became aggressive.

His family said he died "in transit" with police while being taken into custody.

Image copyright Katie Brown
Image caption Rob Spray, pictured with niece Elsie, had gone to Bulgaria to watch a Euro 2020 qualifier

Ms Brown said his ashes were in his room and the family would "go and talk to him every day", adding that they were "absolutely broken".

A post-mortem examination revealed Mr Spray died from cardiac arrest but the family is awaiting toxicology results. An inquest will take place in April.

Bulgarian authorities are continuing to investigate, but a petition calling for the Foreign Office to hold an independent investigation has been signed by more than 95,000 people.

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