AN eighth teenager has been charged with the murder of an 18-year-old man following a confrontation during last month’s Houghton Feast celebration.

Northumbria Police today confirmed detectives investigating the death of Jack Woodley in Houghton-le-Spring have charged another 15-year-old youth with the killing.

He was going before magistrates in North Tyneside today and is expected to appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Friday.

The development emerged as four of the youths already charged in relation with Mr Woodley’s death denied his murder.

Appearing at a Newcastle Crown Court plea hearing today, four of the seven youths previously accused in relation to the killing, two each aged 14 and 16, denied charges of murder and the alternative of manslaughter.

The charges were not put to the other accused youths, two of whom were not at court for the hearing, while an investigation is being made as to the fitness to plead of another defendant, aged 15.

Judge Paul Sloan, the Recorder of Newcastle, said he would hear pleas from those other youths later.

He remanded all the accused into either youth detention or local authority care.

Dates were set for the submission of the prosecution case, on December 8, the defence statements, by January 12, and a pre-trial hearing will take place on January 17.

A trial date of March 1 has already been fixed.

The charges arise from an altercation near the Britannia Inn, on Newbottle Street, Houghton-le-Spring, at 9.30pm on Saturday October 16.

Emergency services attended and found Mr Woodley severely injured.

He was taken to hospital, where his death was confirmed the following day.

The teenager was originally from Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, but has since also lived in the Gateshead area, and he more recently moved to Sunderland.

In the immediate investigation into his death nine teenagers were arrested.

Last month, seven teenagers, aged from 14 to 17, were charged with his murder and two 15-year-olds were released, “under investigation”.

Northumbria Police said today, “following new evidence”, one of those 15-year-olds has now also been charged with the murder and was due before North Tyneside magistrates today.

Detective Inspector Joanne Brooks, who is leading the investigation, has repeated an appeal for anyone with further information to come forward.

She said: “First and foremost, our thoughts remain with Jack’s loved ones.

“Our inquiries are continuing, and I would ask anyone who witnessed the incident or has information, in particular footage or photos of the altercation, who has not yet come forward, to contact police or Crimestoppers.

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

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

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