Detectives investigating the murder of a "defenceless" pensioner who was stabbed to death as he made his way home have launched an appeal to identify a man seen running in the area of the attack.

Father-of-seven Mohammed Saleem, 75, died after he was stabbed three times in the back in a "swift, vicious attack" just yards from his home in Small Heath, Birmingham, on Monday night, police said.

He was making the short journey to the home he shared with his wife Said Begum from evening prayers at his local mosque, where he was a regular worshipper.

West Midlands Police have released CCTV footage of a man seen sprinting near to where Mr Saleem was found stabbed to death in nearby Little Green Lane.

Officers described the man as a white male in his late 20s or early 30s who was wearing a beanie-style hat. He was seen in Wyndcliffe Road on Monday night.

Detectives have also issued CCTV footage of a seven-seat people carrier driving near the mosque as it is believed the two male occupants, both white men in their 30s, may be significant witnesses.

Detective Superintendent Mark Payne, who is leading the inquiry, said: "The man seen running nearby is being treated as a person of interest for the inquiry team, we need to know who he is so if anyone believes they recognise him I'd urge them to contact us...

"Mr Saleem was a defenceless pensioner returning home from evening's a despicable attack. I'm confident someone, or perhaps several people, in the local community know who has done this or at least has their suspicions about who may be involved."

A joint family statement read during a press conference at West Midlands Police headquarters on Thursday described Mr Saleem as "a much-loved and respected community member". It added: "We can't express our feelings of sadness and devastation. It's hard to accept that our beloved father and grandfather has been taken from us in such a brutal way.

"If anyone has their suspicions about who may have been responsible, or overhears anyone talking about the attack, please don't hold that information back. Pick up the phone and let the police know... we beg you."