A GRIEVING father has made a heartfelt appeal urging anyone who knows anything about his son's murder to come forward and speak to the police.

John Littlewood whose son, John – known as John D – was found dead in a house in Blackhall Colliery on Tuesday, July 30 said: "I am heartbroken. No parent should ever have to bury their son."

The 36-year-old died as a result of head injuries.

Two weeks on, his father and step-mum, Julie, are urging anyone with information to contact the police.

Mr Littlewood said: "John D had a heart of gold, he would do anything for anyone. We just don't know why this has happened to him," said 55-year-old John.

"I've lost a son, his siblings have lost their brother and his children have lost their dad. Please help us find who has done this to him. This could be your son.

"Someone out there must know something. We just want justice for John D and whoever did this to him caught soon.

"Please, if you know anything that could help the investigation, call the police, speak to an officer in the street, or call Crimestoppers anonymously."

Three men arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with his death have been released under investigation.

Officers are continuing to work around the clock to build up a picture of what happened.

They are carrying out a number of lines of inquiry, including reviewing hours of CCTV footage, conducting house-to-house inquiries and carrying out searches in the area.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir, who is leading the investigation, said: "This has been a horrific time for John D's family, who just want answers to what happened to him and why.

"We are carrying out an extensive investigation to establish exactly what happened, but we need the community to come forward with that vital piece of information which could help us get justice.

"To those who know what happened to him, please rethink where your loyalties lie and do the right thing. You can see the anguish his family are going through.

"If you know something - no matter how small you think that piece of information could be - please speak to an officer on patrol in the area, or call us on 101. You can also contact Crimestoppers completely anonymously."

Call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 394 of July 30.

Alternatively, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or visit crimestoppers-uk.org