Police manhunt launched to find Wearside killer wanted for prison licence breach

Convicted killer Lee Klein is being hunted by police.

Convicted killer Lee Klein is being hunted by police.

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Police have launched a hunt to find a convicted Wearside killer after he breached his prison licence.

Lee Klein was locked up at the age of 17 back in 1999 for his part in the savage killing of 35-year-old John Cheal at his home in Hendon, Sunderland.

Mr Cheal - who was described as quiet and harmless - was subjected to a harrowing ordeal after being knifed, stamped on, kicked and punched and struck with a hammer.

Mark Thompson, who was 20 at the time, was jailed for life for his role in the vicious attack, with Klein, who is now 35, detained at Her Majesty's Pleasure.

Mrs Justice Ebsworth told the pair, who denied murder at their trial, they had been involved in a "merciless, barbarous and bloody" attack and that Thompson had played the greater part.

Klein claimed he had tried to stop the attack and grabbed Thompson in a bear hug. He told the jury he had been hit with the hammer and knocked to the ground before getting to his feet and running out.

But both were convicted of his killing by a jury after a seven-day trial.

Now he is being hunted by police after failing to turn for a probation service appointment.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “Police are appealing for the public’s help to trace a man wanted on emergency recall.

“Lee Klein, 35, from Aydon House in Sunderland, is wanted for breaching the terms of his prison licence after he failed to report to probation.

“Officers are carrying out inquiries to locate him and are asking anyone who may know where he is to contact police.

“Anyone with information should contact Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 420 280716 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”