A man is due to appear in court charged with the murder of a much-loved grandfather.

Cleveland Police launched a murder investigation after they were called to Kennedy Gardens in Billingham early on Thursday, May 25 after a man’s body was found.

He was later identified as Ashley Crooks who had recently become a grandfather.

Initially, two men, 44 and 56, were arrested on suspicion of Mr Crooks’ murder and were released on bail while enquiries continue.

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Officers charged Clint Shaun Atkin with the 54-year-old’s murder yesterday (Wednesday, September 13) by detectives investigating the case.

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

A Cleveland Police spokesperson said: "A 44-year-old man was re-arrested on suspicion of murder and was charged yesterday after the death of 54-year-old Ashley Crooks in an address in Kennedy Gardens in Billingham on Thursday 25th May. A second man, aged 56, was also re-arrested on suspicion of murder and he has been released on bail pending further enquiries."

The Northern Echo: Officers working at the scene where Ashley Crooks' body was found in BillinghamOfficers working at the scene where Ashley Crooks' body was found in Billingham (Image: STUART BOULTON)

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The accused, of Rochester Road in Billingham, is expected to appear before Teesside Magistrates’ Court today.

Paying tribute to him at the time, Mr Crooks’ 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.

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