A MAN appeared before magistrates on Tuesday, December 4 charged with murdering a teenage boy whose semi-naked body was found in a derelict house in the North-East more than 20 years ago.

Steven Grieveson, 42, appeared before Sunderland magistrates via a videolink for a hearing which lasted only a few minutes.

He was charged with murdering 14-year-old Simon Martin between May 17 and May 27, 1990. No plea was entered and none was indicated.

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Mr Grieveson wore an ear-ring in his left ear, a black and white Adidas tracksuit top and a red sweatshirt for the hearing.

Members of the public, thought to be relatives of the dead teenager, were in court to watch Grieveson's appearance on a TV monitor.

Magistrates adjourned the case and he will appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday, again via a videolink.

Simon's body was found at Gilside House, Roker, Sunderland, a property which has since been demolished.

The boy, from Amy Street, Southwick, had suffered head injuries and was semi-clothed when he was found.

At its height, a murder probe involved a team of 70 detectives, with officers also carrying out extensive fingertip searches and forensic examinations at the scene.

Simon's death was the third tragedy to hit his family and the third death at his school.

In 1988, his father Robert, an ex-soldier and keep-fit enthusiast, was crippled in a climbing accident. The former miner at Wearmouth Colliery was left confined to a wheelchair.

Just two months before the tragedy, the family was also devastated by the death of the youngster’s uncle, who was found hanged.

It was also the third death to hit Monkwearmouth School, where he was a pupil, within a year.

Earlier, an 11-year-old was swept to her death by a huge wave at Seaburn and a 13-year-old boy died in an explosion at his home in Roker.

Speaking at the time, friends and neighbours described Simon as a “very bright lad and always polite”.