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Police are treating the deaths of a Sunderland mother and son as suspected murder-suicide

Janice Woolford Credit: Family Photo

Detectives are treating the discovery of the bodies of a mother and son in a house in Sunderland as a suspected murder-suicide.

Shortly after 10am on Wednesday 26 February police received a report of concern for a woman at an address on Satley Gardens, Sunderland.

Emergency services arrived and found the body of a 68-year-old Janice Woolford, who they believe had been stabbed.

They also found the body of a Michael Woolford, who is Janice Woolford's son. The 44-year-old had not suffered any visible injuries. Police suspect he had taken a large quantity of drugs.

They were both pronounced dead at the scene.

Enquiries into the circumstances around the deaths are ongoing but detectives are treating the death of the 68-year-old woman as murder.

They do not believe anyone else is involved and police have today said the incident is a suspected murder-suicide.

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Fairlamb, the senior investigating officer of the case, said:

This is a tragic case that has obviously had a devastating impact on Janice and Michael’s family.

“An investigation into the circumstances around the death are ongoing but the evidence we have gathered at this stage suggests it as a suspected murder-suicide.

“A post-mortem has taken place that has confirmed Janice died from stab wounds but we still need to wait for a toxicology report to confirm that Michael had died of a drugs overdose.

“Once we have concluded our investigation then we will provide the Coroner with a report.

“I would like to reassure members of the community that there is no wider threat to the public and we are not looking for anyone else in connection with the incident at this stage.

“We would ask that the public respect the privacy of the family at what is an incredibly difficult time for them.”

– Detective Chief Inspector Jane Fairlamb