Detectives probing the murder of a pensioner believe a weapon may have been used inflict the “severe” injuries he suffered.
Brian McKandie’s body was discovered at his Aberdeenshire home after a worried local raised the alarm.
His death was initially treated as “unexplained”.
But the man leading the hunt for his killer has revealed a post-mortem showed his injuries could not have been caused accidentally.
A local man who had left his car with mechanic Mr McKandie to be repaired became concerned when he could not contact him to collect it.
Police found the 67-year-old’s body inside his property at Badenscoth, on the outskirts of Rothienorman.
Last night, Detective Chief Inspector Iain Smith said: “We don’t know at this stage if a weapon was used or not, but that obviously forms part of the ongoing investigation.
“From what we know of Mr McKandie, he was an elderly man, self-employed, kept to himself and was very busy with his business as a car mechanic.
“He was quite a private individual. I think he chose his friends carefully.”
Officers remained at the property throughout the weekend, and forensic teams could be seen examining the grounds of Mr McKandie’s home closely.
Locals said that police had also been carrying out door-to-door inquiries and were also advising people to keep their homes, cars and valuables safely locked up – creating a “sinister” atmosphere among worried residents.
DCI Smith added: “We’d like to issue a general appeal to people in the area or anybody that knows Mr McKandie to come forward with any information.
“It doesn’t matter how insignificant they think it is.
“He has lived at that address all his life, was very well known in the local community, his death is a bit of a shock to them.”
Mr McKandie was last seen alive on Friday, March 11.
His body was found at his home at Fairview Cottages the following day.
His death was initially treated as “unexplained”, but following a post-mortem police launched a murder inquiry.
DCI Smith said: “Mr McKandie’s body was found alone at his home address in Rothienorman following a call from a concerned member of the public.
“The post-mortem confirmed injuries were severe and couldn’t have been sustained accidentally.”
Shocked locals described Mr McKandie, as a handyman who could fix anything and a “cracking bloke”.
He helped out people in the area out with all sorts of problems, from fixing televisions to carrying out car MoTs.
DCI Smith said: “There is obviously a concern that a murder has occurred.
“What I would say is it is highly unusual for the north-east of Scotland and for that area of Aberdeenshire. This is an unusual incident.”