A 26-year-old former soldier from Moreton has died after being attacked in a taxi rank queue in the town of Rugby.

David Ryding was so badly injured in the assault, which happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, he was put on a life-support machine at University Hospital Coventry & Warwickshire.

A statement from Warwickshire Police today said: “It soon became apparent that nothing could be done to save him and life was pronounced extinct at 3.30am this morning and his life-support machine has been turned off.”

Police arrested a 21-year-old man from Rugby on suspicion of murder following the incident, which occurred at the Clock Tower in Market Place, Rugby.

Two further men aged 25 and 27 have been arrested on suspicion of affray.

All three are currently in police custody while the investigation progresses.

Mr Ryding, who lived in Moreton with his wife Nicola and young daughter, was in the First Battalion the Mercian Regiment but retired from the service in 2011.

Friends of Mr Ryding have paid tribute to him on their Facebook sites.

One, Aaron Dunbar, who is also a former soldier, wrote: “Absolutely devastated, good friend taken too soon.

“Heart goes out to your wife, daughter, family and friends.

“Dave it was a pleasure to know and serve with you my friend. Rest in peace.”

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: “Any death is tragic and obviously our thoughts are with the family at this time.”

Colin Boyd, assistant headteacher at Wallasey School where Mr Ryding attended, said: “David was a lively and popular student who was well-liked by his peers and staff at Wallasey School.

“Our thoughts and sympathies go out to his family and friends at this sad time.”

Warwickshire Police say the 21-year-old who was arrested on suspicion of murder has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.