An 81-year-old found dead in his terraced house after he failed to turn up at his favourite club was murdered, police said today.
Officers were called to an address in Leven Street, Gresham, Middlesbrough, just after 10.50pm on Monday where they discovered the pensioner's battered body.
A post-mortem examination revealed he died as a result of a "significant assault", a Cleveland Police spokeswoman said.
"Police can confirm they are treating the death of an 81-year-old man from Leven Street, Middlesbrough, as murder.
"Inquiries are on-going today and police are appealing for anyone who may have seen anything out of the ordinary since 5pm on Sunday to contact the incident room in Middlesbrough on 01642 303208."
The dead man, who police have not named as they have not traced all his relatives, was a daily visitor to the Samuelsons Working Man's Club opposite his home.
His property has been cordoned off and guarded by police.
Forensics specialists in white suits were seen outside the terraced property, close to the busy A66.
Andy Mallett, who works at the club, told the Northern Echo newspaper: "You could set your clock by him. He would come in at the same time every night, have the same two and a half pints and the same meals every day."