SEVEN teenagers will appear at crown court today all charged with murder.

The accused, aged 14 to 17, were among nine youths arrested after an altercation in Newbottle Street, Houghton-le-Spring, at 9.30pm, last Saturday.

Emergency services attended and found Jack Woodley severely injured, near The Britannia Inn.

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

All seven defendants went before South Tyneside magistrates on Wednesday.

Four were remanded in youth custody and the youngest three, each aged 14, were remanded in local authority care, all to appear at Newcastle Crown Court, today.

Some will be produced at the court, but at least three of them will appear via video link, at the hearing presided over by The Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan.

Police said two 15-year-olds, also arrested as part of the inquiry have been released, “under investigation.”

Detective Inspector Joanne Brooks, who is leading the investigation, said: “Our thoughts remain with Jack’s loved ones at this incredibly difficult time.”

She urged members of the public to refrain from identifying the seven accused in the case.

“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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