Sunderland family’s frantic search before son was found dead

Simon Martin
Simon Martin
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SCHOOLBOY Simon Martin was a “happy-go-lucky kind of lad” who had done well at school, jurors heard at the trial of his killer.

The 14-year-old was living in Amy Street, Southwick, and was a pupil at Grange Park Junior School until he moved over to join brother Robert at Monkwearmouth School.

The Martin family, including dad Robert and mum Jean, had moved to Sunderland following Robert snr’s time in the Army, during which he had been based in West Germany and Catterick in North Yorkshire.

In a statement read to the court, Robert snr said: “Simon enjoyed school and got good grades.

“He was also a good boy at home and did not get into much trouble.

“Things started to go wrong after he left Grange Park and went to Monkwearmouth School.”

The court heard Simon had got into some scrapes which were “totally out of character” for him.

On the night of Friday, May 18, 1990, Simon came in from school at about 4.15pm. He got changed out of his school uniform and into clothes to go out and play.

The court heard he was wearing a distinctive jacket with a Los Angeles Lakers motif on the back.

Jurors were told Simon was asked to be back in the house for 5pm for his tea but did not return.

The teenager’s girlfriend at the time, Leanne Comiskey, told the court she had seen Simon with Grieveson in Thompson Park at about 6pm that night.

The pair walked over towards her but “did not say much”. When asked how the pair appeared, Leanne, 13 at the time, said: “They just seemed normal.”

By 8.30pm, Simon’s family were frantic with worry.

Robert said: “Jean had already been looking for him in his usual haunts.

“The next day, we went and searched down at the seafront for two hours, but we didn’t see Simon at all. We also searched Thompson Park and the quarry at Witherwack.”

On Saturday, May 26, the police arrived at the Martin home.

In his statement, Robert said: “They asked questions about what Simon was wearing and if he had any scars or birthmarks.

“They came back at about 8.30pm and said they had found the body of a young boy.

“At 11.35pm, I went to Sunderland District General Hospital, where I identified the body of my son Simon.”