THE family of a murdered Stourbridge property developer have paid an emotional tribute to their "loving and generous" father.

Richard Sherratt, aged 57, was found dead at his rented flat in Bridgnorth last Thursday (June 14).

He died of head injuries, a post mortem revealed, and three people appeared in court yesterday (Wednesday) charged with murder and robbery.

His three grown-up children, Tom, Joseph and Jennie Sherratt, have been left devastated by the tragedy.

They said in a statement: "We are deeply saddened by the loss of our father. He was a loving son, brother and father.

"He will always be remembered for his jovial spirit, strong character and generous nature.”

The family thanked police for their help and said they had been touched by the kind words and messages they have received from relatives and friends.

Mr Sherratt, who grew up in Kinver, was a well-known businessman in Stourbridge, responsible for numerous property developments in the town and surrounding areas.

His friends and business colleagues say they have been left in “shock” at news of his death.

Peter Davenport, senior partner at the Lee Shaw Partnership, said: “He was a good friend and client, very reliable and thorough in his approach to business and we were successful together. It was always a pleasure to work with him. I spoke to him virtually every day.

“It’s a sad loss to us all.

“He was looking forward to an exciting little development in Bridgnorth town centre in High Town. He was going to build two cottages and maybe some apartments - and he was living in an apartment on the site there. He’d only been there for about six weeks.”

Stourbridge architect Terry Bolton, of BBLB, who discovered Mr Sherratt’s body in the Bridgnorth flat he had been renting out to his friend, said: “It’s an absolutely tragic loss. It’s shocking. I’m really upset.

“Richard was a delightful chap; a very open, gregarious and engaging character who lived life to the full.

“I shall miss him greatly as will all who knew him.”

Friend, Andrew Jennings, added: “Richard was a colourful character and a nice bloke and he didn’t deserve this.”

Michael Cyril Smith, aged 50, from Horton Street, Tipton, Paramjit Singh, aged 32, from Willmore Road, Perry Barr and Emma Jane Bate, aged 25, from Gladstone Street, Aston, appeared at Telford Magistrates Court yesterday (Wednesday) charged with robbery and the murder of Mr Sherratt.

All three were remanded in custody to appear at Shrewsbury Crown Court on Monday June 25.

Singh and Bate are also accused of perverting the course of justice.