Update: Police are treating murder as a disability hate crime as victim is named

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Police investigating the murder of a 24–year–old man in Newcastle are treating his death as a disability hate crime.

Yesterday, emergency services were called to a grassed area near a pathway between Dorrington Road and Hazeldene Avenue in Fawdon in Newcastle at 8.34am, following reports of concern for a man.

Police and ambulance staff attended and the victim, who has been identified as Lee Irving, from Camperdown in East Denton, was declared dead at the scene.

A post mortem which has been carried out has led police to launch a murder investigation.

Lee had learning difficulties and was vulnerable. One of our key lines of enquiry is to establish whether this was a factor in his death.

Five people - four men and a woman - have been arrested on suspicion of murder and are in police custody.

Newcastle Superintendent Bruce Storey said: “It’s thought those involved in this incident know each other. Lee had learning difficulties and was vulnerable, one of our key lines of enquiry is to establish whether this is a factor in his death and a motivation in this crime.

“It’s important those suspected of being responsible face the consequences of their actions and I would urge anyone who was in Fawdon on Saturday morning, between 7am and 9am, to come forward and speak to us. If they saw anything at all that seemed out of the ordinary, no matter how insignificant they think it is we would ask them to get in contact.

“Five people have been arrested, they remain in custody and are helping with our enquiries.

“Extra officers will continue to carry out patrols in the area to offer reassurance to the local community, who understandably are shocked and appalled by this tragic death.”

Anyone with information is asked to contact Northumbria Police on 101 ext 69191 quoting reference 407 060615 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.