Boy, 16, arrested after schoolgirl stabbed to death in Northumberland
A teenage boy has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a 15-year-old girl was stabbed to death in “happiest village in Britain”.
Emergency services were called to the Priestpopple area of Hexham, Northumberland, on Friday evening to a report of two teenagers being injured.
An boy and a girl, 16, and 15, suffered serious injuries “consistent with having been caused by a bladed article”, police said.
Both were taken to hospital, where the girl died later that evening. The boy suffered serious, non-life-threatening injuries and remains in hospital.
A separate 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of assault, and later on suspicion of murder, Northumbria Police said.
Derek Kennedy, the mayor of Hexham, said that the town was in “complete shock”.
“In the Hexham community, we have a very low crime rate, generally,” he said. “It’s a community that looks after one another. We were awarded the happiest place to live in Great Britain last year.”
Hexham, which is located 25 miles west of Newcastle, is described as a “charming market town”, with floral gardens in the town centre and a Grade II-listed abbey.
It is a popular stop-off point for tourists and locals, serving as a gateway to Hadrian’s Wall and the Northumberland National Park.
Mr Kennedy said: “It’s an absolute tragedy. The town is in complete shock. To lose one of our children who attends a local high school is just horrendous.
“Parents are really anxious for the health of their children because they’re all a part of this community. The schools are all really anxious that their children are really feeling the pain, suffering and shock of such an awful incident.”
On Saturday, the local high school, Queen Elizabeth High, cancelled its performance of Godspell following the news.
Mr Kennedy added: “To happen to such a young person and the alleged perpetrator to be a young person, in the high street at 5pm, is just shocking. Everyone is just shocked and struggling to come to terms with it. It will ruin so many lives.”
The Rev David Glover, rector of Hexham Abbey, invited members of the community to come and light a candle to “reflect on this terrible tragedy”.
He told The Telegraph: “We are very, very shocked and concerned that this has happened. It is dreadful. It is, of course, a shock to our community. There is a great sense of shock. That is the best way to describe it, really.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected by the tragic events.”
Northumbria Police said it was alerted shortly after 5.10pm on Friday by the ambulance service to a report of a teenage boy and girl being injured.
Chief Superintendent Sam Rennison, Northumbria Police’s area commander for Northumberland and North Tyneside, said: “A teenage girl has sadly died, leaving her family completely devastated beyond words. Another boy has also been seriously injured.
“Our thoughts are very much with their loved ones at this awful time, and we are supporting them in every way we can.
“We are determined to find out exactly what happened and bring anyone involved to justice. A full investigation is ongoing into the circumstances surrounding this tragic incident.
“We have arrested a teenager in relation to the incident and officers remain in the area to carry out a range of enquiries and offer reassurance to the community.
“While our investigation is at an early stage, we do believe all those involved are known to each other.”
Ch Supt Rennison thanked the public for their support and asked people not to speculate on the details of the investigation.