The family of a man found dead at a flat have paid tribute to a ‘much-loved’ grandad.

Police launched a murder investigation after they were called to Kennedy Gardens in Billingham early on Thursday (May 25) morning last week after a man’s body was found.

He has today been named for the first time as 54-year-old father and recent grandfather Ashley Crooks.

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Paying tribute to him his family said: “We are devastated that Ashley has been taken from us so suddenly and cruelly. He is a much-loved member of our family and a very proud dad and - recently - grandad to two gorgeous baby girls.

The Northern Echo: Ashley CrooksAshley Crooks (Image: CLEVELAND POLICE)

“We are struggling to come to terms with the shocking circumstances of his death and please ask for privacy at this time.”

Two men, 44 and 56, have been arrested on suspicion of Mr Crooks’ murder and have been released on bail while enquiries continue.

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Forensic officers were seen working at the scene on Thursday.

The Northern Echo: Forensic officers were seen at the scene on ThursdayForensic officers were seen at the scene on Thursday (Image: STUART BOULTON)

Police are still appealing for information to assist with their enquiries.

Cleveland Police said: “Detectives are still appealing for anyone with information who has not yet spoken to police to get in touch quoting ref 100246.”