The community of Fulwell has been urged to gather together tonight as it meets in the aftermath of the murder of a shop worker.
The Partners and Communities Together (Pact) meeting is due to be held at 6pm, having been scheduled before the tight-knit neighbourhood was rocked by last night’s death of a 62-year-old woman who worked at the One Stop in Sea Road.
She died of stab wounds, with a 19-year-old man, who police say is not from the immediate vicinity arrested on suspicion of murder.
The route and roads leading to the section between Mere Knolls Road and Marshall Street has been sealed off and is expected to be shut for the foreseeable future.
Specialist search officers have been seen checking the drains as well as the ledges at the front of homes and businesses, with Cornthwaite Park in Whitburn and nearby Roker Park also closed off while police have carried out searches.
Neighbours and residents were already set to discuss concerns about issues in the community, including antisocial behaviour, drug issues, theft and vandalism.
Northumbria Police has said senior officers will be in attendance at the meeting, which will be held at Fulwell Community Centre in Chapman Street.
Councillor George Howe, a Conservative member who has represented the ward for 22 years, plans to join residents and businesses at the session.
What has happened is a disgrace and a tragedy.Councillor George Howe
He said: “There has been a very heavy police presence on the streets and I have been down to Sea Road to speak to people in and around the area.
“I was very shocked this morning to hear what had happened, I got a phone call at about 8am and went straight across to see what was going on and there was a lot of police in the area and I explained I was a councillor.
“I know her family will be very sad about what’s happened and my thoughts are with them.
“What has happened is a disgrace and a tragedy.”
He said residents were keen to push for action over what they say is a decline in the area due to ongoing bad behaviour.
Coun Howe added: “We would like to see people at this meeting and I think there will be a lot of people there.
“People want to see more police on the beat.”
Fellow Fulwell Councillor Margaret Beck, who represents Labour, visited Sea Road to speak to residents and those working and running businesses which have been allowed to open.
She said: “I wanted to come down and see how everyone was.
“My thoughts are with the woman’s family.”
Sunderland Central MP Julie Elliott posted via Facebook: “Dreadful news this morning of the death of a 62-year-old woman following a serious incident in Sea Road, Fulwell last night.
“The police believe this to be an isolated incident, and there is not thought to be any wider threat to the public.”