SEVEN teenagers have been charged with murder and are appearing in court today following the death of an 18-year-old in Houghton-le-Spring at the weekend.

Northumbria Police received a report of an altercation near the Britannia Inn, on Newbottle Street, at 9.30pm, on Saturday.

Emergency services attended and found Jack Woodley severely injured.

The teenager, originally from the Durham area, was taken to hospital suffering life-threatening injuries, but his death was confirmed on Sunday night.

An investigation launched in the aftermath of the incident, on the final weekend of the annual Houghton Feast celebration, resulted in nine teenagers being arrested, initially on suspicion of wounding.

Overnight seven of them, aged between 14 and 17, were charged with murder and were appearing at South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court today.

Meanwhile, two 15-year-olds have been released, “under investigation”.

Detective Inspector Joanne Brooks, who is leading the investigation, said specialist officers are continuing to support the victim’s family.

“Our thoughts remain with Jack’s loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.

“I would like to take this opportunity to remind people that as all seven of those charged are under the age of 18, they are legally entitled to anonymity, and must not be named or identified in connection with this incident.

“I would urge people to not speculate or name them online as this could severely impact our investigation, which remains ongoing.

“Our inquiries will continue and I would ask anyone who witnessed the incident or has information, who has not yet come forward, to pick up the phone and contact police or Crimestoppers.

“Any information, no matter how insignificant you may feel it is, could prove crucial to this investigation.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101, quoting log NP-20211016-1193, or ring the Crimestoppers’ free phone line, anonymously, on (0800) 555111.

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