THREE people have been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 20-year-old man was found stabbed to death at a house.
Police and paramedics were called to Sledmere Close, in Peterlee, shortly before 3am on Sunday.
The victim, who is believed to be from Walker in Newcastle, was in the living room of the semi-detached property covered in blood from multiple stab wounds.
Despite efforts to revive him, he was pronounced dead at the scene.
Two women aged 20 and 24 were arrested at the house.
A third suspect, a 19-year-old man, believed to have been at the murder scene was arrested at an address in Walker at around 9am yesterday after efforts to trace him.
All are being held on suspicion of murder and were quizzed by detectives throughout Sunday.
What triggered the incident is not yet known but police believe all those involved knew each other.
Police teams are still searching for the murder weapon, which is believed to be a knife.
A team of 30 detectives and other specialist staff are working on the case and an incident room has been set up at Peterlee Police Station.
Detective Chief Inspector Steve Chapman said: “We would be keen to hear from anyone who heard a disturbance or noticed anything unusual in the Sledmere Close area of Peterlee in the early hours of Sunday.
“Crimes involving bladed weapons are relatively rare in our force area, but sadly on this occasion it would appear a young man has lost his life in such a way.”
Detectives added that it will be some time before the dead man is named while they try to contact relatives.
A post mortem examination was due to take place last night to establish a formal cause of death.
The area around the house was cordoned off for much of yesterday while police forensic staff examined the scene and other officers spoke to neighbours.
Residents in the street spoke to the Mail of their shock at what had happened.
One neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I heard a scream at about half past two but thought it was just people coming back from the nightclub.
“Then not long after that, all the blue lights and sirens turned up.
“I think it’s shocking. You don’t expect it to happen on your doorstep.”
Another, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “I am surprised because it is quite quiet round here now.
“The street used to have a bad name years ago but a lot of the houses have been bought.
“I came in at two o’clock and the street was quiet. Then when I woke up this morning the police cars were there.”
A man and a woman have also been arrested by Northumbria Police at the house in Holywell Avenue, Walker, on suspicion of assisting an offender and are being held on Tyneside.
Anyone who saw or heard a disturbance in the area in the early hours of Sunday is asked to contact Peterlee Police on 0345 6060365 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.