'Beloved' teacher found dead in canal sparking murder probe is named by police

The family of Gary Bartram have paid tribute Credit: Staffordshire Police/PA

An “irreplaceable” secondary school teacher who was found dead in a Staffordshire canal has been named by police.

Gary Bartram was found in the water near Deep Hayes Country Park in Sutherland Road, Longsdon, near Leek, just after 9am on Sunday, Staffordshire Police said.

A man from Dundee, also aged 49, was arrested on Sunday on suspicion of murder and remains on conditional police bail while enquiries continue.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the 49-year-old’s family said their “hearts are broken” over his death.

Paying tribute to Mr Bartram, his family said: “Words cannot express the devastation at the sudden passing of a beloved husband.

“He has left behind a loving family, a huge group of lifelong friends, and a community of students that he had made his life’s work to teach and support in any way he could.

“His warm, kind, fun-loving zest for life brought joy to all of us.

“He is irreplaceable, our hearts are broken, and the family respectfully asks that we are given time and space to grieve during this very difficult time.”

'His warm, kind, fun-loving zest for life brought joy to all of us' - family of Gary Bartram

Emergency crews from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service, West Midlands Ambulance Service and the police all attended the scene on Sunday.

The force previously said that officers are keeping an open mind, but believe Mr Bartram was walking next to the canal after leaving the Hollybush Inn in Denford.

Detective Inspector Nathan Hough said: “My thoughts remain with Gary’s family and friends at this tragic time.

“Our investigation into the events leading up to his death is continuing.

“We’d like to thank everyone who has come forward with information so far and those who have spoken to officers in the area.

“I’d like to ask people not to speculate about what happened while we continue to carry out our enquiries and to respect the family’s wishes for privacy as they continue to grieve.”

Anyone with information about the incident should contact the force on 101 quoting incident 215 of December 10.

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