A MAN convicted of killing a former paratrooper has been found dead while on home leave from prison.

The body of father-of-two Anthony Curtis, who disappeared nine days ago, was found in a section of Manchester Canal near Water Street in Castlefield on Sunday afternoon.

Police are treating his death as suspicious.

Curtis, aged 23, of Bond Square, Salford, was convicted of the manslaughter of nightclub bouncer and former paratrooper Ben Kamanalagi in Salford in 2001.

He was sentenced to five-and-a-half years in prison. Richard Smith, of Baydon Avenue, Salford, was also convicted and jailed.

The sentences were branded lenient by Mr Kamanalagi's girlfriend Joanne Done, of Kearsley.

Miss Done, who was pregnant with Mr Kamanalagi's child Cory at the time of his death, launched a petition calling for the sentence to be increased.

The campaign was backed by Bolton South-east MP Brian Iddon and attracted more than 1,000 names. Both men's sentences were then referred to the Court of Appeal.

Det Supt Steve Heywood, who is leading the investigation into Curtis's death, said the inquiry was at an early stage.

He added: "We are looking at a wide range of possibilities as to how Mr Curtis died."

He only had five months of his sentence to serve and had failed to return home following a night out with friends in Manchester on Sunday.

Mr Kamanalagi, aged 28, was beaten to death with wooden posts outside a friend's house in Weaste, Salford, in September 1999.