Seven teenagers arrested over screwdriver stabbing murder of man outside North East shopping centre

Seven teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murdering a 52-year-old who was stabbed with a screwdriver in a busy city centre in what police said was a "chance encounter".

Thursday, 15th August 2019, 12:06 pm
Updated Thursday, 15th August 2019, 1:44 pm
Police officers conduct a search near to Old Eldon Square, Newcastle, following the death of a 52-year-old man. Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

Northumbria Police said one boy aged 14, two 15-year-olds and four 17-year-olds were arrested after the "unprovoked attack" in Old Eldon Square, Newcastle, at around 6.20pm on Wednesday, August 14.

The local man, who was not known to the youths, was attacked inside the doors of an entrance to the shopping centre, close to a Greggs bakery.

He was taken to the Royal Victoria Hospital where he died.

A police officer keeps guard at the cordon outside Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

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He had suffered a single stab wound to the chest and police believe a screwdriver was used.

Police search teams were scouring a cordoned-off area of Old Eldon Square outside the shopping centre.

The entrance to the mall had been closed off to the public but reopened this morning, Thursday, August 15.

Chief Superintendent Ged Noble said the area was busy with shoppers and people going home from work at the time of the unprovoked attack.

Police officers conduct a search near to Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

He declined to say whether the victim had intervened to stop a fight among group of young people.

Ch Supt Noble said the incident was not linked to "the vagrant community" and said those arrested were known to police.

He said: "This is a tragic and shocking incident where a man has sadly lost his life.

"Our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim and they are being supported by specialist officers at this extremely difficult time.

Police searching Old Eldon Square, Newcastle, as part of the murder inquiry. Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.

"Our investigation is ongoing but we have very quickly arrested seven teenagers in connection with the incident, one of which we believe to be the main suspect.

"It appears to have been a chance encounter between the victim and the offender which then led to what appears to have been an unprovoked attack."

Ch Supt Noble praised shoppers, diners and people going home from work who helped the emergency services.

He said: "We have had a fantastic response from the public, both in terms of immediate assistance that was given to the victim in support of ourselves and paramedics, and we have had numerous contacts from witnesses describing what they have seen."

Police officers outside Old Eldon Square, Newcastle. Police said seven teenagers have been arrested on suspicion of murder. Photo by Owen Humphreys/PA Wire.