Northumbria Police has today named Mark Herron as the person whose remains were found in a detached garage following a blaze at Tunstall Village Green in Silksworth.
Mark, who was 53 and of New Silksworth, was found to have died as a result of the fire, according to the results of a post-mortem examination held on Tuesday, February 25.
His family are being supported by specialist officers in the wake of the tragic discovery as the investigation continues into his death.
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In a statement released on Wednesday, they said: “We are absolutely devastated by Mark’s death. Words can’t describe the pain we are feeling as we try to come to terms with our loss.
“He was a much-loved member of our family, and whilst he would have been the first to acknowledge he had his problems in recent years, he was a kind man at heart.
“We would like to thank the community for the messages we have received since this tragic news, and would ask that our privacy is respected at this time.”
Forensic officers from Northumbria Police were in the street on Wednesday just days after the force confirmed it had launched an inquiry into the suspicious death.
Investigative work then unearthed human remains buried under rubble in the garage, which was severely damaged in the fire.
Detective Inspector Graeme Dodds, the senior investigating officer, has called for a newly-identified witness to come forward and assist with the police’s work.
He said: “This has been a devastating time for Mark’s family and our thoughts are with them. We will continue to offer them any support they need as they come to terms with their loss.
“We are committed to mapping out a chronology of events that immediately preceded the fire, and extensive enquiries have been carried out at the scene by police and our partners.
“As part of those inquiries, we have identified a witness that we are keen to trace. Shortly after the fire started, a dark-coloured 4x4 Qashqai-style vehicle was seen travelling in the immediate area.
“We are keen to speak to the occupants of that vehicle as they may be able to offer vital information that can assist with our investigation.”
Floral tributes are in place outside the property, with members of the community sharing their condolences and messages of support for Mark’s loved ones.
As news of the discovery broke earlier this week, neighbours in the street shared their shock with the Echo.
Anyone with information is asked to call Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 375 230220 or independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.