TRIBUTES have been paid to a mother found dead in a flat as detectives continue to question a man on suspicion of her murder.

Victoria Cherry, aged 44, had been missing for more than a year despite attempts by her family to trace her.

Detectives arrested a 43-year-old man at a first floor flat in Toronto Street, Breightmet, on suspicion of her murder on Monday.

Forensics teams searching the one-bed property and its gardens discovered Ms Cherry’s body in the apartment later the same evening.

Ms Cherry, who came from Fulwood in Preston, had two sons with her ex-partner Steven “Joey” Woods and a daughter Robyn from a different relationship and was a grandmother.

Mr Woods’ niece Samantha Mitchell, aged 28, from Preston, said: “She was a troubled soul. But she was always there for me.

“She classed herself as my auntie. We can’t believe it.

“I’ll just remember the times she was there to give me advice and support. And her bubbly character.

“I’ve been wondering were she was all this time. It’s just heartbreaking.”

Ms Cherry’s cousin Donna Cropper posted on social media: “Love you so much Vicky. You are more to me than just a cousin as anyone who knows us can say. We, all your family, miss you. RIP my little big cousin.”

It is understood Ms Cherry, known to friends as Vicky, had a chaotic lifestyle at times and it was not unusual for her go without contacting her family for long periods.

They last heard from her in October, 2014 and her mother formally reported her missing to Lancashire Police in October, 2015.

Det Ch Insp Terry Crompton, of GMP’s Serious Crime Division, said: “We are continuing to support Victoria’s family as they deal with this devastating news.

“The arrested man remains in custody but I’m urging anyone with any information that would help our inquiries to get in touch.

“If you have information about Victoria’s whereabouts since her disappearance in 2015 or if you hold any information about the events leading up to our discovery, please contact us as a matter of urgency.”

Police have not revealed where in the Bolton at Home flat Ms Cherry’s body was discovered.

n Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 4711 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.