Residents raise concerns over Jarrow flat in wake of murder inquiry after grandfather’s death

Concerned residents are calling on housing bosses to change the tenancy terms of a flat at the centre of a murder inquiry following the death of a grandfather.

By Fiona Thompson
Tuesday, 28 May, 2019, 06:00
Jarrow residents have launched a petition over concern a flat is being used for short-term tenants. From left Jessica Hope, Marina Bull, Amy Dawson, Katrina Lawton, Jordan Southern and Cheryl May.

Families living in High Street, Jarrow, have raised concerns about the use of the property after a police probe into the death of 54-year-old Simon Bowman inside the home on Tuesday, May 14.

They believe no one will now want to live in the flat following the death of dad-of-two Mr Bowman and suggest it should be closed off or used to house a permanent resident.

Katrina Lawton, who is mum to children aged two, seven and eight, has set up a petition calling on South Tyneside Homes, which manages the property, to reconsider its use.

She said the community had been rocked by the death of Mr Bowman, who had chatted to neighbours after he moved in earlier this year.

The 37-year-old said: “I moved here seven years ago and it had a permanent tenant until about three years ago.

Police and forensic officers on the scene of the inquiry in High Street, Jarrow, following the death of Simon Bowman.

“We think it has been used as a homeless unit. We think it’s been used as a temporary place where they find them somewhere to live.

“We’ve been told what happened is an isolated incident, but they’ve been putting anybody in there.

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“Who is going to want to live there now anyway?

“It’s just the fact we don’t know who is going to be in and it is concerning, having no idea who is moving in.

“I’m on my own in the house with a toddler and I’ve got three children under 10.

“Lots of people have kids around here and they don’t know who is living next door, it’s scary.

“I just want them to put people in permanently or close it off and leave it empty.

“I don’t want to cause trouble, I just want to be safe in my house.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Homes said: “Following the incident at High Street, Jarrow, we have liaised with Northumbria Police who believe this to be an isolated incident.

“We will continue to provide any support that we can to the investigation.”

Christopher Graham, 30, of Romney Avenue in Washington, has been charged with the murder of Simon Bowman.He has been remanded in custody and will next appear before Newcastle Crown Court on Friday, June 14.