A MAN has appeared at crown court accused of murder following a Christmas night incident at a residential property in a village.

Adam Jenkins is alleged to have killed Simon Birch in a suspected assault at an address in Newbottle, near Houghton-le-Spring.

Police were alerted by the ambulance service to a report of an injured man at a house on Sunderland Road, at about 11.20pm on Saturday.

On arrival, officers found 39-year-old Mr Birch with a serious injury consistent with having been caused by a bladed article.

Despite the efforts of emergency services, he died at the scene.

Mr Jenkins, who was arrested following the incident, was subsequently charged with murder.

The 34-year-old, of Sunderland Road, Newbottle, was remanded in custody by magistrates on Monday .

He went before Newcastle Crown Court yesterday. No plea was taken.

The case was adjourned to a plea and trial preparation hearing at the court on Monday January 24

A trial date in June is to be considered by parties in the case prior to the next hearing and Mr Jenkins was, again, remanded in custody.

Since Mr Birch’s death, police have issued a family tribute to the father of two teenage daughters.

His parents, Ian and Jennifer Birch, said: “Simon was a much-loved son, father, brother and uncle.

“He had so many friends and was loved by so many who knew him.

“He lived life in the fast lane. He loved his cars and motorbikes, was full of energy and was the life and soul of any party.

“Whenever he was around, his smile would light up a room.

“He will be missed by everyone.”

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