Four in court charged with murder of John Littlewood

Four people charged with the murder of Blackhall dad John Littlewood have appeared before court.

Thursday, 26th September 2019, 3:00 pm
Updated Thursday, 26th September 2019, 5:53 pm
John Littlewood, known as John D.
John Littlewood, known as John D.

John, known as John D, was found dead in a house in Third Street, Blackhall Colliery on Tuesday, July 30.

The 36-year-old died as a result of head injuries.

Durham Constabulary launched a murder probe and carried out a series of searches in the village, stopping bin collections in the days after his body was found, and have also made checks at a house in South Shields.

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Flowers were left in tribute to John Littlewood in Third Street, Blackhall, in the wake of his death.

Last night, Wednesday, September 25, the force confirmed it had charged four people in relation to the inquiry.

James Riley, 30, and Donna Balfour, 35, both of Ninth Street, Blackhall Colliery, have both been charged with murder and intimidation of a witness.

Marty Bates, 29, and Tracey Bunney, 44, both of Tenth Street, Blackhall Colliery, have both been charged with murder.

All four appeared before Newton Aycliffe Magistrates’ Court earlier today, Thursday, September 26.

The case was adjourned until tomorrow, when all four will go before Teesside Crown Court, with each of the defendants remanded.

Police have said a 31-year-old man who was also arrested on suspicion of murder has been released under investigation.

The force has said officers have been working around the clock on the investigation into the death of John D.

As his dad John, 55, joined police in appealing for information, he said: “John D had a heart of gold, he would do anything for anyone.

“We just don't know why this has happened to him.”