TWO men have appeared in court charged with murder following the death of 22-year-old man in Sunderland last year.

Shortly before 9.45am on December 3, police received a report of a concern for a man on Saltburn Road.

Emergency services attended and found the body Blaine Hammond, 22, who was later pronounced dead.

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Louis Whelan, 22, of Watling Street, Towcester, and Anthony Keating, 22, of Palmerston Road, Sunderland, appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates' Court today (May 11) charged with murder.

They were not asked to plead to the charge and the case was committed to Newcastle Crown Court.

The men were remanded in custody with the next hearing scheduled for Friday.

Earlier Detective Chief Inspector Sharon Chatterton, of Northumbria Police’s Major Investigation Team, said in a statement: “Firstly, our thoughts remain with the loved ones of Blaine and we will continue to offer his family specialist support while they continue to come to terms with what has happened.

“I also want to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported our investigation, as well as the local community for your support and cooperation.

“Now that we have two suspects due in court, I would ask that people refrain from any speculation, both in public and on social media, that could jeopardise those legal proceedings.

“I urge anyone with information which could assist the investigation or relates to this incident to contact the police.”

Anyone with information is asked to call 101 quoting log 135735V/21 or the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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