POLICE are quizzing four men after a South Tyneside man was stabbed to death while his girlfriend looked on.
A murder hunt was launched after David Arthur Charlton, 25, died when he was attacked by two youths at 10.35pm on Friday at the junction of Stanhope Road and Boldon Lane in South Shields.
Police have arrested three men on suspicion of murder and another on suspicion of assisting an offender.
As the murder probe continued today, a team of officers carried out a fingertip search of bushes around Tyne Dock Metro station.
Police believe a knife was used in the attack and that some clothing may have been discarded nearby.
The victim, who was from South Shields, apparently got into an argument with two youths who were walking in the opposite direction, after he left the Last Orders pub in Boldon Lane with his girlfriend.
Chief Inspector Michael Barton said: “We understand this incident has caused concern to the community and we’ve got extra officers on patrol to reassure people that everything is being done to trace the people involved.
“There is no place for such violent behaviour on the streets of South Tyneside and Northumbria, and a specialised team of detectives is piecing together all the information available to establish the circumstances.
“Anyone with any concerns should speak with their local officers.”
A post-mortem examination was held on the stabbing victim, who was pronounced dead at South Tyneside District Hospital.
Detective Chief Inspector Paul Young, from Northumbria Police’s Major Crime Team, said: “It appears the man was walking along the street following a social night out and was involved in this incident with two youths, who then assaulted him.
“A young man has lost his life and we are carrying out extensive inquiries to establish what happened and who is responsible.
“This includes checking CCTV in the area, speaking with witnesses and carrying out searches of the scene and surrounding area.
“I’d appeal for anyone who witnessed the incident or who has information about the people responsible to get in touch with police as soon as possible.
“Specifically, it’s possible the weapon, which we believe to be a knife, and some clothing, may have been discarded in the vicinity, and anyone who sees anything at all which is suspicious or out of place should contact us.
“I’m making a direct appeal to the public – someone must know who the people responsible are, people don’t need to give their name, they can contact us anonymously, but I’d urge people to call us at the earliest opportunity.”
Anyone with information should contact police on 101, ext 69191 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.