Daughters pay tribute to Sunderland dad with 'biggest and kindest heart' following suspected Christmas Day murder
The teenage daughters of a man who lost his life following a suspected assault on Christmas Day have remembered their dad as someone who had “the biggest and kindest heart”.
Northumbria Police launched an investigation into the death of Simon Birch on Christmas Day.
Officers were alerted by North East Ambulance Service that a man had been injured at an address in Sunderland Road, Newbottle at around 11.20pm on Saturday, December 25.
Emergency services attended and found 39-year-old Simon, of Sunderland, “with a serious injury consistent with having been caused by a bladed article”.
The force confirmed on Monday, December 27 that despite efforts by paramedics, Simon – also known as Birchie – died at the scene.
Simon’s loved ones have today (Tuesday, December 28) paid tribute to a man whose smile “would light up a room”.
His parents, Ian and Jennifer Birch, remembered their son as “the life and soul of any party”.
They said: “Simon was a much-loved son, father, brother and uncle. He had so many friends and was loved by so many who knew him.
“He lived life in the fast lane. He loved his cars and motorbikes, was full of energy and was the life and soul of any party. Whenever he was around, his smile would light up a room.
“He had a huge heart and was very generous. He’d give you his last penny if he could. He will be missed by everyone.”
Simon’s devastated daughters, 18-year-old Brogan and 13-year-old Georgie, added: “He was always there to support us and would give us the biggest hug, telling us how much he loved us.
“He had the biggest and kindest heart. He would always protect us, no matter what, and was always there if we ever needed anything.
“It’s hard to put into words how much he will be missed by all who knew him.”
Detective Inspector Graeme Barr, of Northumbria Police – who is leading the investigation into Simon’s death – has praised his family for their ‘incredible bravery’ over the last 72 hours.
In a statement released on Tuesday, Det Insp Barr said: “This is an absolutely horrific time for everyone who knew Simon, and my thoughts remain with his family as they attempt to come to terms with what has happened.
“I would continue to ask that their privacy is respected and would like to thank them for the way they have supported our investigation at every step of the process.
“We are committed to making sure Simon’s family get the answers they deserve. Any death is a tragedy, but it is especially poignant at this time of year.
“I would like to thank everyone who has come forward with information since the incident, and would ask the public to please avoid any speculation on social media or in the community that could jeopardise the ongoing court proceedings.”
Adam Jenkins, 34, of Sunderland Road, Newbottle has been charged with murder and appeared before Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
He is due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday, December 29.