Man charged with murder after suspected Christmas Day assault near Houghton-le-Spring

Christmas day murder
Police at the scene on Sunderland Road in Newbottle Credit: ITV News

A man has been charged with murder after a suspected assault near Houghton-le-Spring on Christmas Day.

The victim has been named as 39-year-old Simon Birch from Sunderland, who died at the scene in Newbottle around 11.20pm on Saturday night.

A suspect was arrested a short time after the alleged incident and taken into custody.

34-year-old Adam Jenkins has been charged with murder and is due to appear before magistrates in Newcastle on Monday.

Detective Inspector Graeme Barr, of Northumbria Police, said: “Our thoughts remain with Simon’s family and we would ask that their privacy is respected at this awful time.

“A man has now been charged with Simon’s murder and I would ask that people refrain from any speculation on social media or in the local community that could prejudice the live case.

“I would like to thank the community for their support and cooperation throughout this investigation, as well as all those who have assisted with our enquiries.”

Family liaison officers are now supporting the victim's family.

Anyone with information was asked to call police on 101 or use Northumbria Police’s Tell Us Something page on their website.