THE family of stabbing victim Christopher Ritchie have paid tribute to a "loving son."

His mother Jean, said: "Our hearts are completely broken. Life will never be the same again.”

Christopher Ritchie died after he was stabbed in Mitchell Street, in Durham, just before 8.30am on March 19.

A post-mortem examination carried out last night confirmed the 41-year-old died as a result of stab wounds.

His heartbroken mam added: “Christopher was kind-hearted and generous. He would do anything for anyone and would never hurt anyone.

"He was a loving son, brother and dad and we all love him to bits.”

Christopher also leaves behind his sister, Beverley, son, Robbie, stepsons Joel and Maximus, former partner, Faye, brothers, Eddie and Lee, and niece, Jasmine.

“Christopher was funny and kind, he would do anything for anyone. He didn’t have a bad bone in his body,” said Beverley.

“He was my baby brother. We have such a strong bond and I love him dearly. My world has ended without him – I will miss him so much.”

Faye said: “Christopher was a much-loved father to Robbie, and stepfather to Joel and Maximus. He adored all three boys and cherished the time we had together.

“He was extremely kind-hearted and would do anything to protect us. We will miss him greatly, and although our hearts are broken, we shared a deep love that will never die.”

Around 30 detectives, crime scene investigators, uniformed officers and other staff are currently working on the investigation.

A cordon remains in place around the scene. Officers have been carrying out a number of lines of enquiry, including reviewing hours of CCTV footage and carrying out house-to-house enquiries.

Detective Chief Superintendent Adrian Green, who is leading the investigation, said: “Christopher’s family have been devastated by his murder and are desperately seeking answers as to what happened to him and why.

“We are carrying out a thorough investigation to establish exactly what happened, but we need people to come forward with those vital pieces of information that could help us get justice.

“If you know something – no matter how small you think that piece of information is - please come forward and speak to us.”

Anyone with any information should call Durham Constabulary on 101, quoting incident number 56 of March 19.

Alternatively, information can be passed on to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.