THEY battled in vain to save his life.

Neighbours have spoken of how they gave first aid to a murder victim as he lay dying in the street.

Residents of Morris Road in Southampton told the Daily Echo how they tried desperately to stem the bleeding while attempting to resuscitate the pensioner, named last night by police as John William Willdig, as they waited for the emergency services to arrive.

They leapt into action after finding Mr Willdig, 70, collapsed outside a home where he was known to regularly stay, in the Polygon.

Sadly their efforts could not keep him alive.

Police confirmed that they had arrested four people arrested on suspicion of murder. Three have now been released on bail.

Amy Anstiss, a student, who lives just metres from the scene of the death, told the Daily Echo how her friend tried to the aid of the victim.

Amy, 20, said: “My friend Douglas ran out and he was holding the man’s head to try and stop the bleeding.

“My next door neighbour was trying to give him CPR and she was screaming for someone to call an ambulance. There were puddles of blood everywhere and lots of shouting. Everyone was in shock.”

Ronnie Barratt, also of Morris Road, added: “A woman was out there administering first aid to the man and there was blood everywhere but I don’t think there was anything she could do.”

Other neighbours spoke of hearing arguing in the street at around 8pm or 9pm on Monday before seeing the emergency services arrive later.

Mr Willdig was taken by paramedics to Southampton General Hospital but he was later pronounced dead. Detectives immediately launched a murder inquiry and confirmed that four people – a 69-year-old woman and three men aged 35, 43 and 53 all from the Southampton area – were arrested.

The 35-year-old man remained in police custody this morning after police bailed the two other male suspects late last night, while the woman was released on bail this morning.

Hampshire police confirmed officers were called to the scene in Morris Road just after 10.15pm on Monday following reports of a man collapsed in the street.

The area was sealed off and later the cordon was extended to the length of Morris Road and some of Devonshire Road to allow forensic officers to scour the scene.

Miss Anstiss added: “I saw a topless man in long, grey shorts being taken away by police but that’s it.

“I just want to go home but they won’t let me through the cordon. All they have told me is they are searching bins for ‘certain objects’.”

A post-mortem examination was being carried out by a Home Office pathologist yesterday afternoon to try and establish a cause of death while specially trained officers worked to contact Mr Willdig’s next of kin.

Until then Hampshire police said they were unable to confirm any further details, including whether the murder victim had died as a result of stab wounds.

A spokesman would only say they did not believe it was a random attack and that they were not looking for anyone else in connection with the inquiry.

He said: "Police are focussing their investigation on establishing the relationship between all those arrested and the deceased, and are not looking for anyone else in connection with this incident at this time."

Anyone with information about this incident should contact 101 and ask for the Major Investigation Team quoting Operation Fabia. Alternatively information can be left anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.