RESIDENTS in Blyth are being reassured of their safety following the murder of Christopher Chapman.
Police in Blyth have been issuing reassurances to members of the community that incidents such as the stabbing of 24-year-old Christopher last week are extremely rare.
Two teenage girls made their first appearance before a Newcastle Crown Court judge last week accused of murdering Mr Chapman, known affectionately as Chappy.
A 16-year-old girl from Blyth, who can not be named for legal reasons, and Megan Hope, 18, of Rosalind Street in Ashington, were jointly charged with his murder on Tuesday, April 19.
Mr Chapman, of Blyth, was found bleeding from a wound in his torso in the early hours and emergency services tried to save his life, but he was later pronounced dead at Wansbeck Hospital.
A provisional trial date was set for October and both teenagers were further remanded in custody.
Floral tributes and a banners signed by dozens of friends of the 24-year-old victim, who died outside the Windmill Grove flats in Cowpen Road, line the street. Neighbourhood Inspector for Blyth, Trevor Oakley, said: “It is a very, very rare crime in Blyth and two people have been charged with the murder.
“We talk to the community about it to try and reassure them and keep them up to date.
“It is an isolated incident and we want to talk to the community about tension and any fears they want to address.
“After such incidents, we carry out a community impact assessment on how the community feels about it and make sure the right message is going out to people who have links in the community.”
Officers from Blyth contacted members of local neighbourhood watch teams in the area and other residents’ groups to keep them informed about the incident so details could be passed on to members of the community.
Linda Wilson, chair of the South Croft Residents Group, received a call on the morning of the stabbing and said she was very impressed with how police handled the situation and sent out information to residents.
“An officer from Blyth rang me up and asked whether I had heard about the murder, he rang straight away on Tuesday morning, because it had happened at about 3am.
“He wanted to ring up and offer reassurance and wondered what the impact was on our area, whether I had heard anything and also gave me some basic details which I could pass on to residents. I thought their response was really good and I was very impressed. The community needs to get feedback so they don’t wonder what’s going on and you don’t get a case of Chinese whispers.”
The Safer Neighbourhoods Team at Homes for Northumberland has also been working closely with tenants living at Windmill Grove by offering a regular presence at the site and providing advice and support to those living in the local area.
The team has written to every tenant at Windmill Grove to remind them to get in touch if they have any concerns following the tragic incident.