South Shields man Anthony Ross admits killing ‘childhood sweetheart’

Melissa Liddle
Melissa Liddle

A South Tyneside man has admitted the Mother’s Day killing of his ‘childhood sweetheart’ girlfriend.

Mother-of-two Melissa Liddle, 23, was found dead at the home she shared with Anthony Ross in Oak Avenue, South Shields, on Sunday, March 15.

Ross, 24, pleaded guilty to a charge of manslaughter on the grounds of diminished responsibility when he appeared at Newcastle Crown Court via videolink.

A murder charge brought against him was dropped by the prosecution.

He is due to be sentenced next month.

Nick Dry, prosecuting, told the court that Ross’s guilty plea was acceptable.

Oak Avenue South Shields murder.

Oak Avenue South Shields murder.

Judge Paul Sloan QC told Ross: “I am going to adjourn sentence in your case until the September 7, that’s the next stage.

“I am directing you attend court in person on the next occasion.

“I am not giving any indication as to sentence at the minute.”

Ross of Oak Avenue, South Shields, has been remanded in custody until his sentencing date.

Floods of tributes poured in for the tragic mum following her death - with loved ones coming together to launch an online fund for her two children, Lewis and Ollie, which raised over £3,000 within a day of being set up.

Annette Todd, 53, whose sister is Miss Liddle’s grandmother, said following her death that whole family were left ‘devastated’.

Mrs Todd, also of Oak Avenue, South Shields, says Ms Liddle and Anthony Ross were “childhood sweethearts” who had been together for around eight years.

Mrs Todd said: “We are just devastated by this. She has a brother Liam and a sister Demi.

“She was lovely, so nice and would always help anyone. I remember my son Peter telling me he had dropped his wallet with £150 in on the street and she picked it up and returned it to him.

“That shows you what kind of person she was.”

Her husband Peter, 60, added: “It just doesn’t feel real. Those two children have lost their mother on Mother’s Day.

“We have a grandson aged four and you just can’t imagine what it is like for a child to have a parent snatched away.”

“That is how they will always remember Mother’s Day now. It couldn’t be any worse.”

Miss Liddle was a former floristry student at South Tyneside College.

Her talents in the art allowed her to be fast-tracked through her course, last year, in time to have her second baby.

Alison Maynard, principal at South Tyneside Professional and Vocational College, described Miss Liddle as a ‘star student’ with a ‘natural flair’ for her studies.

She said: “Melissa was a very talented florist and has been described as a star student by her tutor.

“She was determined to start her own business and was fast-tracked to complete her course early so that she could achieve the qualification before giving birth for a second time.

“Melissa was very passionate about floristry and worked very hard while with us.

“She had a natural flair for it and had great ambition to do well and to set up her own florist’s shop. It is incredibly sad that she will not achieve that.


Community raises more than £3,000 for the sons of Melissa Liddle

Tributes to ‘star student’ Melissa Liddle