Police search South Shields property in murder probe two months after father was found dead

Police are searching a property in South Shields as part of their investigations into the unsolved murder of a 36-year-old dad.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 11:49 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 1:22 pm
John Littlewood (inset) was found murdered on Third Street in Blackhall.

A number of other properties throughout the region will also be searched on Tuesday in connection with the murder of John Littlewood.

The body of Mr Littlewood was found at a terraced house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, east Durham, on July 30.

Durham Police also revealed on Tuesday that they have arrested five people in connection with his death.

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Police carry out searches in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery, after the suspected murder of John Littlewood.

Three men who were previously detained on suspicion of murder on August 2 and released under investigation have been rearrested.

Two women have also been arrested on suspicion of murder.

Two men, aged 29 and 30, and the two women, aged 35 and 44, were arrested in Blackhall Colliery.

A 29-year-old man was arrested in Hartlepool.

The body of John Littlewood was found in a Blackhall Colliery house in July.

Detective Superintendent Kevin Weir said: “This morning’s arrests are a significant development in what has been a complex investigation.

“We will be carrying out searches at properties in the Blackhall Colliery and Hartlepool areas throughout the day in connection with the investigation. We will also be searching a property in the South Shields area.”

Two weeks after the discovery of his body, his father, John, and step-mum, Julie, issued a heartfelt appeal urging anyone who knew anything about their son's tragic death to come forward and speak to police.

"John D had a heart of gold, he would do anything for anyone. We just don't know why this has happened to him," said 55-year-old John.

"I've lost a son, his siblings have lost their brother and his children have lost their dad. Please help us find who has done this to him. This could be your son.”

Det Supt Weir added on Tuesday: “I would urge anyone who has any information which could help our inquiry, and has not already spoken to us, to speak to an officer on the ground or call us on 101.

“Information can also be passed on anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”