DETECTIVES investigating the murder of a man have reassured witnesses that any information given will be treated in the strictest of confidence.

The body of John Littlewood was found in a house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, last Tuesday. The 36-year-old died as a result of head injuries.

On Friday, officers arrested three men - one aged 31 and two aged 29 – on suspicion of murder. They were released under investigation on Sunday night.

Around 50 detectives, crime scene investigators, uniformed officers and other staff are currently working on the investigation.

A cordon remains in place around the scene and officers have been carrying out house-to-house enquiries in the surrounding area.

Search teams are being deployed to the area over the next few days, and people are being urged to speak to officers if they have any information which could help the investigation.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir, who is leading the investigation, said: “This is a tragic incident in which a man has lost his life and a family has been left without a son, a brother and a father.

“My team of detectives and staff are working around the clock to establish exactly what has happened, but we need the community to come forward with information which could help us build a picture of the circumstances surrounding the incident.

“If anyone has information which could help, but is reluctant to come forward and speak to police, I would ask them: “What if this was your son, your brother or your father?”

“I would like to reassure people that any information given will be treated in the strictest of confidence. Information can also be passed on completely anonymously to Crimestoppers.”

Please call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 394 of July 30 with any information, or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.