A man has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder after battering a stranger with a wine bottle and ultimately causing his death.

In the early hours of 15 March, Tony Dodds, 25, broke into a guest house in Whitley Bay.

After trying to enter the rooms of other tenants in the guest house on North Parade, Dodds of Hillheads Road in Whitley Bay managed to enter the room of Matthew Davis, 39.

A vicious assault then took place in which vulnerable Mr Davis was kicked, punched and repeatedly struck over the head with a wine bottle.

Matthew's body was found two days later and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Dodds was charged with murder and has pleaded guilty to causing Mr Davis' death. He will serve a minimum term of 15 years.

The murder weapon. Credit: Northumbria Police

I know that this will have been an extremely difficult six months for the family of Matthew Davis and that they have been dignified given the circumstances. This was a truly cowardly attack on a vulnerable man who was beaten to death. All of the evidence would suggest that he was attacked in his sleep; he had no defensive wounds and there was nothing to suggest a struggle took place. What's more it appears that Matthew's murder was without motive or reason. The defendant showed little remorse for his actions, and after the attack had unashamedly tried to enter the kitchen of the guest house to cook himself some food before leaving the building.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Shelley Hudson

On March 14 our family's life was turned upside down. Matty's life was tragically cut short by an evil individual who has no remorse for his actions. As a family we are devastated and there is a hole within our family that will never go away. Matty was such a kind-hearted guy who was well liked by all who met him. He was to turn 40 in June this year and as a family we should have been celebrating not going through all of this heart ache.

Matthew's family tribute