A FATHER from the North-East could be extradited to the United States after he was charged with threatening to kill 200 American schoolchildren.

Authorities investigating 24-year-old Reece Elliott are trying to establish who has jurisdiction as thousands of youngsters in the state of Tennessee were kept off school as a result of the online threat.

Mr Elliott, from South Shields, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court for a 30-minute hearing on Saturday charged with making threats to kill and making a malicious communication.

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It relates to threatening posts made last Wednesday on a Facebook memorial page for a girl killed in a road accident in Warren County, Tennessee.

A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “We are seeking advice on who has jurisdiction.”

Kristin Helm, public information officer of the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, said Mr Elliott had not yet been charged under state law.

She said: “Extradition has to be requested by the District Attorney General of the Judicial District where a crime was committed.

“The District Attorney General in Warren County would be the person to make that decision after consulting with UK authorities.

“However, extradition wouldn't be considered unless there were state charges.”

The DA General Lisa Zavogiannis was not available for comment when contacted by The Northern Echo.

The anonymous Facebook message reportedly said: ''My father has three guns. I'm planning on killing him first and putting him in a dumpster. Then I'm taking the motor and going in fast. I'm gonna kill hopefully at least 200 before I kill myself.”

Security at US schools has been tightened since gunman Adam Lanza killed 27 pupils and adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Connecticut, in December and it is believed 3,000 children were kept off school in Warren County last Thursday.

Bobby Cox, director of Warren County Schools, Tennessee, said on Facebook: “In the world we live in we can never be too cautious and must take all threats seriously.”

Mr Elliott, of Shrewsbury Terrace, South Shields, did not enter pleas at the magistrates’ court hearing.

Kevin Smallcombe, defending, said Elliott has no passport and no desire to visit Warren County.

Jim Lynch, chairman of the bench, said he would be remanded into custody and next appear before South Tyneside magistrates at 10am on Wednesday.

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