Mum’s death in Sunderland back lane referred to police watchdog

Stevie Snaith with her mother Melissa.
Stevie Snaith with her mother Melissa.
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The death of a Sunderland mum whose body was found in a back lane has been referred to a police watchdog.

Melissa Snaith, also known as Black, was found lying in Carley Road, Southwick, just a short distance away from her home in Edward Burdis Street, on Sunday morning.

Body found at Carley Road back lane

Body found at Carley Road back lane

Police had been called just before 9am after concerns had been raised for her, while paramedics were called to verify death.

The 48-year-old had last been seen in the lane at 3am.

Her daughter Stevie Snaith has said she could have been lying there for hours until she was found.

Sunderland coroner’s office confirmed a post mortem examination has been carried out and has found she died of natural causes, with no further involvement required from his office.

I’ve seen it in the Echo and it helps that so many people are thinking about us.

Stevie Snaith

However, it has been confirmed the Independent Police Complaints Commission is looking into the incident.

An IPCC spokesperson said: “The Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) received a referral from Northumbria Police on Monday, August 8, and this referral will now be assessed to determine if an investigation is required.”

Stevie said she had been overwhelmed by all the messages of support and condolence, including those on the Echo Facebook page.

She said: “I’ve seen it in the Echo and it helps that so many people are thinking about us.”

Stevie has spoken of her mother’s love for animals, especially dogs, and had two chihuahuas and would always take them for a walk in Thompson Park.

The 28-year-old, who works in a fruit shop and lives in Millfield, discovered the tragic news after she was called by a relative of Melissa’s partner John Fisk.

Stevie said Mr Fisk had gone back to his own house after spending the day with Melissa, and would not have known she had failed to get home safely.