Police plea for witnesses to knife killing of 16-year-old

Detectives made an urgent appeal for witnesses yesterday [Sun] after charging a second person in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old on Tyneside.

Detectives made an urgent appeal for witnesses yesterday [Sun] after charging a second person in connection with the murder of a 16-year-old on Tyneside.

Apprentice mechanic Mark James Smith collapsed at the corner of Elswick Road and Caroline Street in Newcastle's West End on Wednesday night [May 2] with stab wounds to the neck.

He was taken to Newcastle General Hospital, but later died. A 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with murder last week and appeared before magistrates in Newcastle on Saturday.

Yesterday, a 20-year-old being questioned by police was charged with assisting an offender and possession of an offensive weapon. He is expected to appear at Newcastle Magistrates' Court this morning.

Detectives leading the murder investigation last night renewed their appeal for witnesses and said it was a matter of urgency people who were in the area at the time come forward.

A post-mortem revealed that Mark, of St John's Walk, Benwell, died from a single wound to his neck.

Det Chief Insp Roger Ford, who is leading the investigation, said after viewing CCTV footage from the area it was clear there were a number people on Gill Street, Axbridge Gardens, Elswick Road, and Adelaide Terrace, at the time of the alleged attack.

He said: "We have had a good response from the public to this tragic incident but I believe there are some potential witnesses who were in the area at the time and I would urge them to come forward as soon as possible."

Family members last week paid tribute to Mark who had been trying to turn his life around since being given a two-year anti-social behaviour order in April last year and revealed he had just landed his dream job as an apprentice mechanic.

His grandmother Frances Cleminson, 72, of Nichol Street, Benwell, said: "We are devastated by this. He was a good lad who was like any other adventurous teenager. Mark was determined not to go on the dole and he had found his perfect job. He was so happy."

Anyone with information should ring 0845 604-3043 ext 62941.

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