MURDER victim Andrew Smart was a loving, hard-working married father-of-two before alcohol abuse tore his life apart.
And police believe he may have been targeted in his home by bullying teenagers because of the drink problem which officers say led to the breakdown of his marriage.
How the intelligent former software engineer came to be battered to death in a Tyneside flat remains a mystery.
And as murder detectives appeal to the public for help in piecing together the last week of Andrew’s life, details of how his once happy life tragically unraveled have been revealed.
The 47-year-old, whose blood-covered body was found in a ground-floor flat in Sibthorpe Street, North Shields, died of multiple injuries following a sustained attack.
Three teenage boys have been arrested and questioned in connection with his death
But detectives from Northumbria Police’s Major Investigations Team, are now appealing to the public to help them establish what Mr Smart did and where he went in the last week of his life.
Det Chief Insp Peter Bent, who is leading the murder probe has released details of Andrew’s tragic life.
Originally from Tynemouth, Andrew left the North East to study and married a woman elsewhere in the country.
Together they had two children, and were happily married until Andrew, who had been a self-employed software engineer, stopped working and started to drink.
Andrew returned to his native North East following the break-down of his relationship.
But he had only lived in the flat on Sibthorpe Street since after Christmas.
Det Chief Insp Bent explained: “We now know that Andrew Smart battled an alcohol problem and was seen as a vulnerable figure in the area he lived. This is a very sad case. He had been a hard-working, intelligent man who held down a good job as a self-employed software engineer.
“But some years ago he stopped working and began to drink. His marriage broke up and he moved back to Tynemouth alone, away from his wife and two children. Even though he still kept in touch with other family members they also live outside the North East.”
Det Chief Insp Bent is now appealing to anyone who knows anything about Andrew’s movements before his body was found, at around 6.30pm on Sunday, to get in touch. And he wants to hear from any teenagers in the area that may have visited Andrew in his flat. “Detectives are working to piece together information about his lifestyle and how he came to be found dead at his home in Sibthorpe Street, North Shields,” Det Chief Insp Bent continued.
“We believe that because of his drink problem he had been targeted by some teenagers in the area who would come into his home and cause a nuisance.
“We are still trying to establish the extent of the problem and how many young people were involved, but this is one line of enquiry we are following.
“I’m appealing for any young people who have visited Andrew Smart at number four Sibthorpe Street in North Shields to come forward and speak to officers. I must stress that any information you provide is completely confidential and could help us to find those responsible for this dreadful crime.
“I’m also appealing for any adults who knew Mr Smart and had seen him or spoken with him between Sunday, February 21 and Sunday, February 28, when he was found dead.
Anyone with any information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 0191 295 6946 or ring the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”