Chris Chapman murder suspects appear in court

TWO teenage girls have appeared in court charged with the murder of a man in Northumberland.

Chris Chapman, who died after being stabbed in Blyth

TWO teenage girls have appeared in court charged with the murder of a man in Northumberland.

Megan Hope, 18, of Rosalind Street in Ashington, and a 16-year-old girl from Blyth, who can not be named for legal reasons, made their first appearance before magistrates yesterday.

Both were led into the dock wearing baggy black jumpers and handcuffed to officers. They spoke only to confirm their names and addresses.

The two are jointly charged with the murder of Christopher Chapman on April 19.

The 24-year-old victim, of Windmill Grove, Cowpen, in Blyth, was found bleeding from a wound to the torso outside the Windmill Grove flats just after 3am on Tuesday.

He was taken to Wansbeck Hospital were he was later pronounced dead.

Sobbing quietly as they were led into the courtroom, 18-year-old Hope put her arm around the 16-year-old girl and whispered in her ear.

Both girls were red-eyed and pale. Paul Dunn, defending, said they were in a weak and distressed condition after having very little to eat in the past 48 hours.

South East Northumberland Magistrates’ Court did not have the power to make a decision on bail for the teenagers and the matter is to be sent to Newcastle Crown Court were the girls are due to appear on April 27 at 10am.

Hope has been remanded in custody and the 16-year-old girl has been remanded in the custody of the local authority with a security requirement.

Members of the public cried quietly at the back of the court as both girls were taken away by officers in tears.

Family and friends of Mr Chapman have paid tribute to the young man who was known affectionately as Chappy.

More than 100 people have joined a tribute group on the social networking site Facebook and hundreds of messages have been left since news of the tragedy broke.

Floral arrangements for the deceased line the street outside Windmill Grove flats in Cowpen Road, Blyth.

Friends plan to pay their respects to Christopher at a special club night in Blyth tonight.

Bobby Regan, a close friend, has organised for The Big Bounce at Nikhs Nightclub tonight to be dedicated to Christopher. Huge crowds are expected at the event to pay their respects.

Last night Paul Westwood, 25, who grew up with Christopher in Cramlington, said: “He was a great lad. I just wish he had stayed in Cramlington, I do not think it would have happened otherwise. I hope Friday will be a great send off for him.”

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