Sunderland shooting victim still 'critical' as police recover weapon

The scene at Ryhope on Thursday morning
The scene at Ryhope on Thursday morning

Police have recovered a weapon used in the shooting of a teenage boy in Sunderland.

The 15-year-old remains in a critical condition in Newcastle's RVI after being shot in the head while riding as a pillion passenger on Hewitt Avenue, Ryhope, on Wednesday night.

Steven Thompson, 39, of Hewitt Avenue, has been charged with attempted murder, possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life, possession of a firearm without a certificate and perverting the course of justice.

He appeared before South Shields Magistrates Court on Friday and was remanded in custody to appear before Newcastle Crown Court on November 4.

A 16-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, also appeared on Friday, charged with possessing a firearm without a certificate and perverting the course of justice.

He appeared back at South Tyneside Magistrates Court today, when the court was told police had recovered a number of firearms from addresses connected to Steven Thompson.

"Mr Thompson faces allegations of attempted murder and perverting the course of justice," said Paul Anderson, prosecuting.

"He is already remanded in custody and is due before Newcastle Crown Court next month.

"The 16-year-old is not alleged to have been directly involved in the shooting, but faces allegations of possessing a firearm and perverting the course of justice in relation to the aftermath.

"Forensic tests over the weekend indicate the weapon used in the attack is now in the hands of the police.

"With that in mind, the Crown do not object to bail with appropriate conditions for the teenage defendant because the firearms part of the investigation can no longer be interfered with were he at liberty."

Mr Anderson told the court the victim remained in a critical condition in hospital.

"He is in an induced coma," Mr Anderson added. "Doctors hope to begin the process of weaning him off the drugs this week.

"But for the victim's family it is, unfortunately, a matter of anxiously waiting."

Joanne Gaetens, defending the 16-year-old, said a suitable address had been found for the boy outside the area.

"I appreciate feelings will still be running high in Ryhope," she added. "The address has been approved by the local authority and will be provided to the court so that the court knows where this young man is."

The bench granted the 16-year-old bail on condition he lives at the approved address, does not enter Ryhope, does not contact any witness in the case, and keeps appointments with youth bail support workers..