An elderly man who was found dead in Plymouth may have been asphyxiated, detectives have revealed.
Michael Brincata, aged 76, was found dead inside a Devonport flat at Malborough House in Granby Way, on Wednesday, February 6.
A forensic post mortem was carried out yesterday and detectives have now launched a murder investigation.
Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan said: "This is a complicated crime scene and we do not have a definitive motive. We believe Mr Brincat may have been asphyxiated."
The murder investigation will now attempt to discover the exact circumstances leading to the death of Michael Brincat.
DS Burgan said: “This is likely to be a very challenging investigation. A team of detectives have now begun making detailed and extensive enquiries.
“I would like to appeal for anyone who has any information about this death, no matter how small, to contact us on 101 quoting reference ED/13/718 or if you wish anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”
Police were called to an address in Granby Way, Devonport, at 12.10pm on Wednesday, February 6, after there was concern for the welfare of a local resident.
On police arrival the male resident appeared dead inside a flat within Marlborough House. Ambulance staff attended and paramedics pronounced the man deceased at the scene.
The man was taken to Derriford hospital.
Neighbourhood officers are carrying out house to house enquiries and detectives are trying to piece together circumstances.
Marlborough House tenants say that police were outside the building from early lunchtime on Wednesday and the coroner's van did not depart the scene until 7pm that evening.
According to residents the man had lived in Marlborough House for only eight months, having recently moved from flats nearby at Granby Green.
Residents said he kept to himself and could often be found in the bookmakers on the pedestrianised Marlborough Street.
He was thought to be partially blind and had a habit of keeping his second-floor door wedged open with a shoe.
Below are two statements read out this afternoon at Crownhill police station by Chief Superintendent Andy Bickley and Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan.
Chief Superintendent Andy Bickley said: "As you know, police were called to a residential flat at Marlborough House on Granby Way in Devonport last Wednesday, the 6th February, shortly after midday.
"On arrival the body of 76 year old local man, Michael Brincat was found lying on the floor. Paramedics arrived a short time later who confirmed he was deceased.
"At that time this incident was treated as an unexplained death. However, once the post mortem began on Monday morning it became apparent that a forensic post mortem was required which was carried out yesterday.
"The forensic post mortem results have since confirmed this is a suspicious death and as of this morning a full murder enquiry has been launched, which is being managed by the major crime investigation team, being led by Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan.
"Based on what we know so far, we believe this is an isolated incident and we have no information to suggest anyone else is in imminent danger, though we would encourage local people as always, to be vigilant and report any suspicious behaviour to the police immediately.
"We have local neighbourhood officers carrying out reassurance patrols in the Marlborough Street area and if anyone has any concerns or questions I would encourage them to speak to the officers.
Superintendent Paul Burgan said: "Detective Superintendent Paul Burgan said: As you can appreciate, this is the early stages of a murder enquiry and as such, I am limited in what I’m able to share with you.
"What I can say, is that major crime detectives and local neighbourhood staff are now making detailed enquiries to piece together events leading up to the death of Michael Brincat. These enquiries include detailed CCTV retrieval, extensive house to house enquiries and a comprehensive review of the crime scene.
"Especially relevant, are Michaels movements on Tuesday the 5th of February, when he was last seen alive at about 10.15am at his home address of 55 Marlborough House. Any sightings of Michael around that time would be particularly helpful.
"I know the local residents are a tight-knit community and I am sure someone within the community has information relevant to the investigation . I am appealing to those individuals to come forward and help us apprehend those responsible.
"I do expect this to be a very challenging investigation and we are not anticipating this enquiry to come to a swift conclusion.
However, the investigation will be thorough, professional and we are we are absolutely determined to bring those responsible to justice."
If anyone has any information, no matter how small or insignificant they think it is either speak to a local officer or call 101 and quote ED/13/718, alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.