A MAN charged with the murder of a blind woman whose body was discovered on Christmas Day has appeared in court.

The body of 38-year-old Jillian Grant was found when police were called called to a property on Tennyson Terrace in North Shields at around 1.30pm on December 25.

Mark Smith, 41, of Tennyson Terrace, was charged with murder and attempted murder on Thursday.

He appeared at North Tyneside Magistrates’ Court on Friday wearing a grey sweatshirt.

District Judge Kathryn Meek told him: “You have been charged with matters that can only be dealt with at the crown court.

“The first hearing where you will be entitled to make an application for bail will be on January 2.”

Smith was remanded in custody to next appear at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday.

The family of Jillian, who was blind and looked after by carers, have paid tribute to the “loving” and “deeply-loved” woman from York Court in Wallsend.

They said: “Jillian was the kind of person who would stop and have a chat with a stranger in the street.

“She was friendly, loving and full of life; it was a genuine pleasure to be around her.

“Above all, she was deeply loved by her family and will be missed by all who knew her.”