Hexham stabbing: ‘bubbly’ Holly Newton, 15, named as victim as boy, 16, appears in court charged with murder

Holly Newton’s family paid tribute to a “bright and bubbly girl” who was “a much-loved daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin”.

A 16-year-old boy has appeared in court charged with murdering Holly Newton, who has been described as “bright and bubbly” in a moving tribute from her family.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl was found with injuries in Priestpopple, Hexham, near Newcastle, at around 5.10pm on Friday, and later died in hospital. Holly’s boyfriend, who was also 16, was injured trying to save her, and was also taken to hospital. It is thought they were both stabbed with a bladed weapon.

Holly’s family has paid tribute to a “bright and bubbly girl” who was “a much-loved daughter, granddaughter, sister, niece and cousin”. A statement on Monday said: “Holly was always a popular girl, who was loved by so many people – not just in Hexham – but all over the North East.

“Holly also loved dancing and was so talented – and a big part of her spare time was spent at classes and taking part in competitions up and down the country. She had her whole life ahead of her and we are still coming to terms with the fact that our beautiful and loving girl is no longer with us.

“Rest in peace to our baby girl – we love you so much and our lives will never be the same without you here. You touched so many hearts and you will be missed beyond words by all of your family and loved ones.”

Holly Newton. Picture: Family handout/ Northumbria Police
Holly Newton. Picture: Family handout/ Northumbria Police
Holly Newton. Picture: Family handout/ Northumbria Police

The defendant, who cannot be named for legal reasons, appeared before a district judge at Newcastle Magistrates’ Court on Monday after being charged with murder, attempted murder and having a knife. The Gateshead teenager was not asked to enter pleas during the brief hearing.

Wearing a grey prison tracksuit, he spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address. He was remanded into youth detention accommodation until his next appearance at Newcastle Crown Court on Wednesday February 1.

District judge Paul Currer told the youth: “The allegations against you are very serious. For that reason you can’t be dealt with in this court. I am going to send your case to the crown court.”

A candle-lighting service was held at Hexham Abbey over the weekend so people could pay tribute to Holly, who lived in Haltwhistle, a market town about 15 miles west of Hexham.

Derek Kennedy, mayor of Hexham, told PA: “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 and suffering and shock of such an awful incident.

“In the Hexham community we have a very low crime rate, generally, it’s a community that looks after one another, we were awarded the happiest place to live in Great Britain last year. It’s a very warm and loving community so for a tragedy such as this to happen, we always find it much more difficult and it’s knocked everyone for six.

“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.”

Chief Superintendent Sam Rennison, of Northumbria Police, said it is “tragic news” and that police believe all those involved are known to each other. At a press conference on Saturday, she said: “First and foremost, our hearts go out to her loved ones at this truly devastating time.

“A 16-year-old boy who was also injured during the incident remains in hospital in a stable condition. He and his family are also very much in our thoughts.

“An investigation was immediately launched and while this is at the very early stages, we do believe all those involved are known to each other. We would like to thank the public for their continued support and co-operation. In particular, those who tried to provide assistance yesterday to the injured boy and girl at the scene.”