Nine North East murders which have gone unsolved for more than a decade

Clockwise from left: Kevin Nightingale, Scott Pritchard, Nikki Allen, and Noddy Rice
Clockwise from left: Kevin Nightingale, Scott Pritchard, Nikki Allen, and Noddy Rice

As the family of Noddy Rice mark 10 years since his killing, we look at nine other unsolved murders which still have the justice system stumped for more than 10 years.

Related article: Noddy Rice’s sister hopes for breakthrough on 10 year anniversary of brother’s murder

1) Julie Perigo, Sunderland

The 51-year-old mother of two, who worked as a prostitute, was found stabbed to death in her blood-spattered flat in Kidderminster Road, Downhill, on May 23 1986.

The former stripper, who had been divorced twice, regularly advertised in sex contact magazines. She was seen alive on Friday May 16.

Despite a nationwide manhunt and almost 6,000 people interviewed, including an extensive list of her clients which had been kept in her diaries, the case remains unsolved.

Read more: Police still hunting killer of Sunderland woman - 30 years on

2) Kevin Nightingale, South Shields

The 33-year-old doorman was found outside his family home in Drake Close, South Shields, by his wife and then-11-year-old daughter Michelle.

He had been shot outside his own front door as he returned home from work on February 17, 1996. He had been a doorman at former nightclub Oz, now a gym, for three years.

Many believe he was targeted because he was trying to prevent drugs being taken into the club.

Three people charged with his murder walked free from court after the case against them was dropped for a second time in 2001.

Read more: Widow still filled with dread at the thought of husband's killer

3) Peter Beaumont Gowling

A convicted drug-money courier, the 52-year-old was found dead at his luxury flat on Osborne Road, Jesmond, Newcastle, by his girlfriend just before midnight on St Valentine's Day 2001.

He had been shot several times in the head, chest and back, with a small-calibre handgun.

Peter Beaumont Gowling, who also known as David Simpson, had been released from jail only three weeks earlier, having been jailed in 1997 for his involvement in a massive drug-money-laundering operation.

4) Scott Pritchard, Sunderland

Scott Pritchard was just 19 when he was found unconscious with head injuries outside his home in Lindsay Close, Hendon, Sunderland, at about 7pm on Wednesday January 7, 2004.

He was pronounced dead on arrival at Sunderland Royal. A post-mortem examination found his injuries had been caused by a blunt instrument.

The single man lived with his mother and younger brother and sister. His father, Robert Stacey, then of Deerness Road, Hendon, was charged with murder but the charges were dropped in October 2005 by the Crown Prosecution Service.

Read more: Inquiry still continuing 12 years after Sunderland teenager’s killing

5) Stephen Sweeney, Felling

Stephen Sweeney was found slumped over his desk at the Cascade furniture factory he ran in Stoneygate Industrial Estate, Felling, by his partner Carol Taylor and their seven-year-old daughter Siobhan on July 8, 1998.

The 45-year-old of Riverside, Hebburn, had been shot several times at point-blank range.

But despite 60 detectives working on the case, his killer has never been found. Investigations did, however, paint a picture of shady dealings and a firm in financial trouble.

6) Nikki Allen, Sunderland

In one of the most notorious unsolved murders in the region, eight-year-old Nikki Allan's battered body was found in a pool of blood in the then-derelict Quayside Exchange building.

The youngster had been heading for her home from her grandparents house just 150 yards away on October 7 1982 when she vanished.

The building where she met her terrible end was just 300 yards from her own family home. She had been stabbed 37 times in the chest and abdomen, while a brick had been used to hit her in the head.

Local man George Heron, then 24, was first charged with her murder, but during his trial at Leeds Crown Court in October 1993, a judge ruled police had used “oppressive methods” when he was questioned and he was found not guilty.

The jury did not hear his admission he had killed Nikki and following the trial he declared he was innocent, admitting he knew her, but stating he had not been responsible for her death.

Police say the investigation to find her killer remains open, with DNA tests among the tools being used to try to trace her murderer.

Read more: Family still waiting for justice on what would have been murdered Sunderland girl’s 30th birthday

7) Paul Logan, County Durham/Northumberland

Apparently having been lured to his violent end, the takeaway delivery driver was found battered to death in December 1993.

The 25-year-old father-of-two from Blackhill, Consett, County Durham, took a call at the Golden Flower Chinese restaurant in Shotley Bridge where he worked, asking for a meal to be delivered to the remote Blue House farm on the Northumberland and County Durham border.

His killers lay in wait and his body was left in deep snow next to his Peugeot 205 car. 10 men were arrested in 1997, but were later released on bail.

8) Viv Graham, Wallsend

One of the most notorious gangland-linked killings in the North East, Tyneside hardman Viv Graham was killed on New Year's Eve 1993 after leaving The Queen's Head pub in Wallsend.

Killers smashed a window in the 34-year-old's Ford Cosworth, then shot him three times at point-blank range in the legs and chest with a Magnum handgun

Left bleeding in the street, he dragged himself 30 yards to try to get help before collapsing. He died at North Tyneside General Hospital four hours later surrounded by his family.

The killers escaped in a car later found burnt out in Heaton.

A huge murder enquiry saw more than 1,000 people quizzed, but so far no one has ever been convicted of killing the former pub and club doorman.

9) John Welch, Newcastle

Father-of-two John Welch was killed at the Swallow Hotel - now called the Chasley - in Newgate Street, Newcastle.

Forty-five year old Mr Welch, from Lincoln, worked for a subsidiary of Ladbrokes and was on Tyneside to wind up the Macau Casino. He was due to meet colleagues for dinner and, when he didn't show up, they phoned the hotel.

Detectives believe that Welch went to answer a knock at the door and was confronted by the killer who hit him over the head.

A post-mortem examination revealed he suffered serious head injuries.