An off-duty policeman who died after he was attacked on his way home from a night out with friends was a "gorgeous son" who brought "love and laughter" to his family's lives.

A murder investigation is under way after Pc Gareth Francis was assaulted in Edgeley, Stockport, on Sunday. Three men were being questioned about the murder.

Two men aged 20 and 21, both from the Stockport area, were arrested on Sunday. A third man, aged 20, handed himself in to a police station and was arrested on suspicion of murder, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said.

Officers have been granted further time to question the first two men and have until 5pm to charge them or ask for more time for questioning.

In a statement released through Greater Manchester Police, Pc Francis's family said: "Our gorgeous son brought love and laughter into not only our lives, but he was an amazing brother, boyfriend, grandson and nephew.

"We cannot imagine how we can face each day knowing that he is gone from our lives."

Police and emergency services were called to a report of an assault in Castle Street, Edgeley, at 1.20am on Sunday, where Pc Francis was found with a serious head injury.

He had been walking home after being dropped off by taxi from a night out in Manchester with friends when he was attacked, police said. Paramedics treated him at the scene and he was taken by ambulance to Stepping Hill Hospital, where he died shortly afterwards.

Detectives are now appealing for witnesses to the attack, and a post-mortem examination will take place to establish the cause of death. The motive for the attack is unclear but police confirmed they are not treating it as a robbery and they do not believe a weapon was used.

His colleagues paid tribute to a "dedicated officer" who had been serving with GMP for six years and was stationed at West Didsbury police station, in the South Manchester Division.