Jurors in David Wilson murder trial shown how police used Sunderland Echo to help trace alleged killer

David Wilson, inset, was killed at his home in December 2014.
David Wilson, inset, was killed at his home in December 2014.

Jurors have been given an insight into how detectives broke the news of a city murder to the public in a bid to catch the killer.

David Wilson, 49, was stabbed to death at the home he shared with boyfriend

Scott Hoyle, 36, in Southwick, Sunderland, in the early hours of December 14 2014.

Within hours, Northumbria Police issued a press release to appeal for information, which was the start of a long campaign, involving the press, to try and solve what had happened.

The Sunderland Echo an other media outlets all covered the case and issued appeals for information in an effort to assist the police.

Daniel Johnson, 20, of Mulberry Gardens, Gateshead, is accused of murder, which he denies, and is being tried by a jury at Newcastle Crown Court.

Jurors have heard Mr Wilson was found dead by his partner, who contacted the emergency services at just after 11am that morning.

By 3.20pm that afternoon, the Northumbria Police press office had broke the news to the media about a body being found and made an appeal for witnesses
to come forward.

The statement said there would be extra police patrols in the area to reassure the community.

Over the following days, more and more information was made public, including Mr Wilson's identity plus appeals for people the police wanted to speak to in connection with what happened.

The court heard members of Mr Wilson's grieving family became involved in the police effort to ask for anyone with information about what happened that night to come forward.

Throughout the months, detectives described the case as "complex" and a "puzzle" which had a number of pieces that needed to come together so the crime could be solved.

Jurors have heard that throughout the public appeals, no information was released about how Mr Wilson died or whether any weapon was involved in his killing.

The court heard an important breakthrough came in March 2016, after police released a recording which had been made from Mr Wilson's phone, after his murder, by a man they had not been able to identify.

Prosecutors now say the call was made by Johnson, to ask the police for a lift home after the killing.

Jurors have heard extracts of the conversation were released and published by the Sunderland Echo and other organisations.

The court heard the broadcast was heard by a witness who contacted the police and he "recognised the caller's voice" as Daniel Johnson.

Johnson denies murder.

The trial continues.