TRIBUTES have been paid to a “lovely bloke” after he was found dead in the bath.

Police launched a murder investigation after Andrew Bloomfield was discovered at a property in Hillman Avenue, Jaywick, shortly after 12.30pm on Friday.

Officers initially treated Mr Bloomfield’s death as unexplained but launched a murder probe on Sunday after a post-mortem examination found he died as a result of a head injury.

Tony Smeeton, 61, from nearby Morris Avenue, had been friends with Mr Bloomfield, who was 58, for 22 years

He said: “I’m heartbroken. We were very close. Andy would tell everybody he was my brother.

“A man phoned me up to tell me he had found Andy dead in the bath. I was so angry that I threw my phone and punched the wall.

“It’s so terrible what has been done to him.

“He wasn’t vulnerable, but people took advantage of his good nature.

“Quite a few people stayed at his over time and they would basically go in and use it for whatever they want, including drug users.

“He had been assaulted a few times. He would never stick up for himself.”

Mr Smeeton said his friend had only just returned from a short stay in hospital.

“He liked a cider and had some issues but he was a beautiful person and would never hurt anybody.

“He was always laughing.

“He was originally from Tottenham, but had lived down here a long while. He was well known in Jaywick.

“He didn’t work as he was a bit disabled. He had a bad leg where he was run over a number of years ago. He was known as Pegleg.

“I can’t believe it. It’s terrible to think he has been killed

“He was such a lovely bloke and I will miss him so much.”

A 44-year-old woman from Clacton was arrested on suspicion of assault and later re-arrested on suspicion of murder. She has been released on conditional bail.