Police have named a man whose death sparked a County Durham murder investigation.
The body of 29-year-old Mark Shaw, known locally as 'Sharky', was found in an upstairs bedroom at his home, 47 Pine Street in Grange Villa, near Chester-le-Street, on Saturday night.
A post-mortem examination last night found the formal cause of death was a single stab wound, however, Mr Shaw had also sustained multiple injuries to his head and body consistent with a severe assault.
Det Supt Adrian Green, the man leading the investigation, said Mr Shaw had been subjected to a ‘prolonged and vicious attack’ which left him with multiple injuries: "The victim was subjected to what was a prolonged and vicious attack which lasted a considerable length of time.
"We believe this may have started in the house late on Friday night or into the early hours of Saturday, so I am appealing for anyone who may have heard sounds of a disturbance at those times to come forward.
"However, no alarm was raised until that evening when a local beat officer was made aware there might be someone at risk in the premises.
"I am also keen to hear from anyone who might have witnessed people going into or out of number 47 at various times during Saturday, December 17
"There will be further police activity throughout the day not only in Pine Street but other locations, including a grassed area known locally as the dene. I would be interested to hear
from anyone who may have seen suspicious activity in that area, for example a fire being set."
More than 60 detectives, crime scene investigators, uniformed officers and other staff are currently working on the investigation.
Four people – three men and a woman – have been arrested as part of the investigation; two of the men and the woman on suspicion of murder, the other man on suspicion of assisting an offender.
Anyone who has information is asked to ring the incident room at Chester-le- Street police station via 101, or they can call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.