At least five families in separate parts of Greater Manchester will suffer a heartbreaking Christmas after a string of tragedies in our region.
Four people died in three incidents on the roads and the body of a fifth was found at a bus stop between 8pm on Friday night and 6.30am on Saturday morning.
None of the incidents are linked in any way and each is subject to a separate investigation by Greater Manchester Police.
It marks a difficult start to the last weekend before Christmas for the force, as two officers were also injured in a vile attack in Middleton .
The pair were on their way to deal with another incident when they spotted a large group of men fighting near a pub on Long Street.
They stopped to intervene and were set upon themselves - a policeman was punched unconscious while a woman officer was stamped on.
Detectives condemned the 'disgusting' attack which took valuable officers off the streets and diverted resources from an already thin frontline.
Mad Friday was one of the busiest nights of the year with extra police out on patrol in town and city centres across the region.
As revellers gear up for more Christmas partying over the weekend, police are now also tasked with dealing with a series of tragic incidents that have led to five deaths.
In Bury, a pedestrian was killed after being hit by several vehicles on the M66 motorway.
Police were called at around 8.15pm on Friday to reports of a pedestrian in the road.
It is believed the man was hit first by a vehicle on the northbound carriageway.
But the impact forced the man into the southbound carriageway where he was involved in collisions with other vehicles.
The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
No arrests have been made.
Police are appealing for information and dash cam footage.
Constable Nicholas Corlett, of GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: “This is a devastating incident for all involved and our thoughts are with them as our investigation continues.
“Our enquiries are in their early stages but we believe several people witnessed this collision and might have dash cam footage or information that could assist us.
“If this is you or you were on either side of the carriageway at around 8.15, please contact us as soon as possible.”
Anyone with information should contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741 quoting number 2726 of 20/12/19.
Police are investigating after a man's body was found at a bus stop in Salford.
Officers received a call for concern for the welfare of a man on Liverpool Road in Irlam at around 6.25am on Saturday.
They attended and found the body of a man at the bus stop opposite Morson Projects head office.
An investigation into the circumstances of the man's death has been launched.
It is understood there is no evidence to suggest the man had been stabbed, contrary to rumours in the community.
One neighbour described hearing a woman 'shouting and screaming' at around 6.30am after she realised the man was dead.
"Whatever has happened, it's so sad," said another.
Two elderly men have died and a woman is seriously injured after they were hit by a car outside a pub.
Police were called to reports a Ford Kuga had collided with three pedestrians on Upholland Road in Billinge at around 8pm on Friday night.
A man in his 80s and a man in his 70s were taken to hospital but sadly died.
The woman aged in her 70s remains in a serious condition but her injuries are not thought to be life threatening.
No arrests have been made in connection with the incident.
Police have appeared for anyone with information or dashcam footage to ontact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741, quoting incident number 2764 of 20/12/19, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
One resident described Billinge as a 'close-knit community' and that the incident has caused a lot of upset among locals.
"Absolutely heartbreaking r.i.p to both the men.i hope the lady makes a full recovery too, thinking about all the families at the extremely difficult time," wrote one.
"R.I.P. condolences to the families it's especially terrible so near Christmas hope the lady makes a speedy recovery," added another.
A 53-year-old man died after a Mercedes crashed into two cars and a traffic light in Oldham.
Police were called to reports of a collision involving three vehicles on Oldham Way at around 8.15pm.
Despite the efforts of paramedics, the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
In a statement, GMP said 'it is believed he may have had a medical episode prior to the collision'.
The man's family has been informed and specialist officers are supporting them.
No arrests have been made.
Constable Karl Horner, of GMP’s Serious Collision Investigation Unit, said: "Our thoughts are with all involved and the victim’s family at this sad time.
"The driver may have had a medical episode prior to the collision but an investigation has been launched to help us establish the full circumstances.
"If you were in the area at the time and have dash cam footage or information that could assist us, please get in touch."
Anyone with information should contact the Serious Collision Investigation Unit on 0161 856 4741 quoting number 2776 of 20/12/19. Alternatively, the independent charity – Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
If you are on the go, the M.E.N. app helps bring you closer to the latest news where you live. Available on iPhone and Android , the app can be tailor made to bring you the latest on what matters to you.
Breaking news, the latest on your football club, the pick of the week’s events and the latest travel - you can tailor the app to suit you. Our push notifications help highlight the biggest stories to you first.Download it on iPhone and Android here .