Online murder: Matthew Pyke could have been killed by a fellow gamer
A computer gaming fan found stabbed to death in his home may have been killed by a fellow gamer he fell out with in an online forum, it has emerged.
The blood-stained body of Matthew Pyke, 20, is understood to have been found by his girlfriend, Joanna Witton.
The couple ran a website called Wars Central where fans of Advance Wars, a computer game for the Nintendo Gameboy Advance or Nintendo DS in which armies of cartoon characters battle against each other, discuss strategies.
One of the theories being pursued by officers is that a member might have taken revenge on Mr Pyke following a dispute in cyberspace.
An anonymous comment posted on the site suggested other members suspected one of their own of the brutal murder.
'I think I speak on behalf of those of us which do know a fair bit about what happened not to press us with questions,' the author wrote.
'We may know a lot of what was going on prior to the killing but I, for one, am not going to say any more.'Another member, using the pseudonym The Evil One, paid tribute to Mr Pyke as 'witty, intelligent, furiously protective of the site, the forum and its members'.
Advance Wars is a popular series of games where the object is to defeat the enemy army by either capturing their headquarters or destroying all of their units.
Mr Pyke's website offered strategy guides for the series of games as well as an internet forum where members could chat to each other and share tips on playing the game.
Wars Central, the website devoted to the Advance Wars computer game, run by Matthew Pyke and his girlfriend Joanna Witton.
An entry on the site from August 16 by JoJo, believed to be Joanna Witton, mentions they were having internet connection problems which had prevented information being uploaded onto the site.
Mr Pyke's body was found on Friday evening in the flat above The Orange Tree, a popular student pub in the centre of Nottingham.
There were no signs of a break-in at the Nottingham flat the students shared and police believe he may have known his killer.
He is understood to have been about to start a new degree course at Nottingham Trent University after failing to complete a physics course he joined in 2006.
Detectives examined his computer and discovered he was a keen video gamer who went under the name 'Shade' on the Central Wars site and had published science fiction stories on the internet.
Forensics officers are still examining the flat.
Mr Pyke moved to Nottingham from his home town of Stowmarket, Suffolk, two years ago.
His parents William, 52, and Kim, 49, were too upset to comment yesterday. Police said they were 'devastated' by his death.
The couple left a tribute on his Facebook website saying: 'Darling Matthew. We love you so much and miss you.Chiraag Suchak, who was in the student's class at Combs Middle School in Stowmarket, said they used to play on a PlayStation games console every weekend.
'You were a truly good, sensitive person. Your smile will live on in our hearts.'
'He is someone that would never, ever provoke anyone, so I have no idea who would do this,' he said.Ian Crissell, the school's head teacher, described him as a conscientious pupil who had been liked by all the members of staff.
'It is no surprise he went on to further education. He had worked hard in order to get himself into that situation,' he said.
A police spokesman yesterday said a number of lines of inquiry were being pursued including 'computer-based inquiries'.
Detective Chief Inspector Tony Heydon, of Nottinghamshire Police, asked any member of public who had seen a 'bladed weapon, possibly blood-stained', to come forward.
He also said he wanted to hear from anyone who saw someone in the area wearing bloodstained clothes - although it is possible the killer would have had to change after the frenzied attack and may have dumped what they were wearing.
Mr Heydon added: 'Matthew was a young man with his whole life ahead of him and we are doing everything we can to catch the person responsible for his murder.'