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Man found dead in house fire had been seriously assualted
A jewellery designer who was found dead in his home had been seriously assaulted, a post-mortem has found.
Michael Griffiths, 59, was discovered slumped against his front door after firefighters were called to a blaze at his Fernhurst house on Thursday morning.
Police believe Mr Griffiths, who was also an antiques dealer, may have been targeted because of his line of work.
Neighbours described him as “distinctive” adding that he had a handle bar moustache and wore a cravat.
The post mortem, which was carried out on Friday evening, revealed “serious injuries to his head and body”.
However the Home Office pathologist said that further tests were needed to discover the exact cause of death.
Detective Chief Inspector Jeff Riley, said that he was keen to investigate an incident on Tuesday evening (January 22) where he was reported to have been attacked with snowballs after visitors knocked on his door.
DCI Riley said: "Michael was a well-known and popular local man who was a talented jewellery designer and maker and was an enthusiastic antiques buyer and seller.
“I am considering that this may have led to he or at least his home, being specifically targeted and this forms one of our main lines of enquiry at this time.
"There is no doubt that we are dealing with a murder and I would appeal to everyone in Fernhurst's close-knit community to think about anything suspicious or just out of the ordinary in the days leading up to the fire and especially the time between 6.30 and 8am on Thursday morning, to give us a call.
"We do know that Michael had a couple of callers at around 8.25pm on Tuesday evening (January 22) who threw snowballs when he answered from an upstairs window. This may well have been an innocent prank, but we would also like to hear from them or anyone else who experienced a similar thing.
"Scenes of crime officers and forensic investigators are now examining the house closely and will continue to do so for a few days.
“Their task is not made any easier by the damage caused by the fire and some of the upstairs areas need to be made safe before they are able to carry out their work.
"Someone, somewhere has vital information that will lead us to Michael's killer. Please call."
Anyone with information should call police on 101 quoting Operation Killick.
Did you know Michael? Send your tributes to email@example.com or call 01273 544536