Family pays tribute to alleged victim of Christmas Day ‘murder’ whose smile ‘would light up a room’

The family of a man who was allegedly murdered on Christmas Day has paid tribute to a much-loved son and dad.

Simon Birch, known to many as ‘Birchie’, died following a suspected assault at an address on Sunderland Road in Newbottle shortly before 11.20pm on Saturday.

Emergency services found 39-year-old Simon from Sunderland with a serious injury consistent with having been caused by a bladed article and he died at the scene.

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A 34-year-old man has been charged with murder and is due to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday.

Now Simon’s family has paid tribute to him following his death saying his smile “would light up a room”.

His parents, Ian and Jennifer Birch, said: “Simon was a much-loved son, father, brother and uncle. He had so many friends and was loved by so many who knew him.

Simon Birch died following a suspected assault on Christmas Day
Simon Birch died following a suspected assault on Christmas Day
(Image: Northumbria Police)

“He lived life in the fast lane. He loved his cars and motorbikes, was full of energy and was the life and soul of any party. Whenever he was around, his smile would light up a room.

“He had a huge heart and was very generous. He’d give you his last penny if he could. He will be missed by everyone.”

Simon’s devastated daughters, 18-year-old Brogan and 13-year-old Georgie, added: “He was always there to support us and would give us the biggest hug, telling us how much he loved us.

“He had the biggest and kindest heart. He would always protect us, no matter what, and was always there if we ever needed anything.

“It’s hard to put into words how much he will be missed by all who knew him.”

Officers from Northumbria Police said their thoughts remain with his family as they attempt to come to terms with what has happened but asked that their privacy is respected.

Forensic officers and police at an address in Newbottle after a man dies following a suspected assault on Christmas Day
Forensic officers and police at an address in Newbottle after a man dies following a suspected assault on Christmas Day
(Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

They also thanked them for the way they have supported their investigation at every step of the process.

The force also urged people to avoid any speculation on social media or in the community that could jeopardise the ongoing court proceedings.

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Chronicle Live – Sunderland